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The following is a conversation with Andrew Huber and his second time in the podcast. He's a neuroscientist at Stanford, a world class researcher and educator, and now he has a new podcast and YouTube and all the usual places called Kuperman Lab that I can't recommend highly enough. Quick mention of our sponsors, master class online courses for stigmatic mushroom coffee, magic spoon, low carb cereal and better help online therapy. Click the sponsor links to get a discount, by the way, masterclasses testing to see if they want to support this podcast long term.


So if you're on the fence, now is the time to sign up. And I'm pretty sure Andrew will have a neuroscience masterclass on there soon enough, though his podcast is basically a weekly masterclass in itself. As a side note, let me say that Andrew is a friend and a new collaborator. We're working on a paper together about a topic we're both really passionate about at the intersection of neuroscience and machine learning. But that's probably many months away from being published.


So I'm really excited about this work. He's one of the smartest and kindest people I have the pleasure of talking to on this podcast. So I hope we'll talk many more times in the future if you enjoy this thing. Subscribe on YouTube, review another podcast, follow on Spotify, support on Patreon or connect with me on Twitter. Allex Friedemann, as usual. I'll do all of the ads now, not in the middle. I'll try to improvise and rant a little bit more than I've done in the past.


I give you a timestamps, so if you skip, please, to check out the sponsors, it's the best way to support this podcast. This show is sponsored by Master Class one hundred eighty bucks a year, gets you an all access pass to courses from the best people in the world on a bunch of different topics. The list is ridiculous includes Chris Hadfield. Neil deGrasse Tyson will write Carlos Santana, Garry Kasparov, Daniel Nagano, Neil Gaiman, Martin Scorsese, Tony Hogg, Jane Goodall.


And he just keeps going like that. It's kind of interesting that from my perspective, Master Class created a whole new kind of way to get educated. So you have the MIT courses that have been a part of and you have open courseware, the stuff. Then there's podcasts like this one. Then there's like the short form YouTube, like five minute, ten minute clips that educate you on a particular topic. Then you have just like relaxed other conversations with like clubhouse.


You start to see more and more and then you have master class, which is essentially you're taking the best people in the world and getting them in a condensed way to explain the thing that they have mastered. The interesting thing is that the people they pick aren't necessarily educators, that they're actually the experts. So it's like getting them to do a TED talk, but with a bit more structure you can watch on any device. Sign up a master class.


Dotcom's works to get fifteen percent off the first year. That's master class that? Com flex. They're deciding if they want to sponsor this podcast long term. So now is the time to sign up. My friends, this show is sponsored by forcing Mattick, the maker of delicious mushroom coffee and plant based protein get up to 40 percent off and free shipping on mushroom coffee bundles. If you go to for stigmatic that Karzai selects, that's for stigmatic dot com slash.


Lex, I know the burning question is probably whether the coffee tastes like mushrooms. No friends. It does not and sadly does not have any psychedelic properties either. I'll be in fact, talking to a bunch of researchers that are working on psychedelics.


I think it's a fascinating angle on which to study the human mind, but that's way out there over the tried and true force. That is coffee that I've read in my whole life. By the way, I also like riding horses. These events are not working out at all. Get up to 40 percent off and free shipping on mushroom coffee bundles. If you go to for stigmatic that Karzai selects, that's for stigmatic dot com slash Lex. This episode is also sponsored by Magic Spoon, low carb, keto friendly cereal.


It has zero sugar, 11 grams of protein and only three grams of carbs. If you know what's good for you, you'll go with the cocoa flavor. My favorite flavor and the flavor of champions, actually.


Speaking of cocoa, I get a chance to exchange a bunch of messages with the great Joey Diaz, Joey Coco Diaz. He is, as Joe Rogan says, the sweetest human being is kind of incredible, actually, how much Carrie has given, how sort of edgy his comedy is. There's so much love underneath that that is just beautiful.


I do hope I get to talk to him on this podcast eventually. He's just a special human being. I just felt the love. It was great. Plus, I was a bit starstruck. I mean, the whole thing's amazing. OK, go to Magic School in Dakar Leks in the description and use collects a check for free shipping. This episode is sponsored by Better Help spelled h e LP Help.


I hope you don't need help with spelling help. They figure out what you need. A match with a licensed professional therapist in under 48 hours.


I've mentioned before that I actually wanted to be a psychiatrist when I was younger. It was way for me to try to understand the human mind. And of course, talk therapy or, you know, psychotherapy was a fascinating tool in my mind of of exploring the human mind. And I suppose you can think of podcast's as a kind of psychotherapy. Maybe for me, maybe that's the reason I'm doing this thing in general. But there's also other forms like I'm doing the the Gorgons challenge.


That's the kind of therapy I'll be alone with my thoughts and with a madman. Mr. David Corkins. So in a Freudian sense, I'm sure I'm going to discover something about myself, something maybe that I don't want to discover, but probably something I definitely need to work through anyway.


Better help is easy, private, affordable, available, worldwide. Check them out of better health outcomes. Leks that's better health outcomes flex. I think one of the luxuries I have now is there's so many people that want to advertise on this podcast. I'm starting to care less and less in reading the copy they give me. I'm just going to go off script and just speak from the heart and if they want to drop us, they drop us. Who cares?


That's that I only try to take on sponsors that actually use and love. So if they drop us, I'll genuinely miss them and keep using them. OK, and now finally, here's my conversation with Andrew Kuperman.


Why do humans need sleep? Let's go with the big first question. OK, well, the answer I'll start with is the one that I always default to when there's a why question, because I wasn't consulted in the design phase.


So, so, so I wriggle my way out of giving a absolute answer.


Right. But there's one mechanism that's very clear that superimportant, which is that the longer we are awake, the more adenosine accumulates in our brain and adenosine binds to adenosine receptors.


No surprise there. And it creates the feeling of sleepiness independent of time of day or night. So there are two mechanisms. One is we get sleepy. As adenosine accumulates, the longer we've been awake, the more adenosine has accumulated in our system, but how sleepy we get for a given amount of adenosine depends on where we are in this so-called circadian cycle. And the circadian cycle is just very, very well conserved oscillation. It's a temperature oscillation where you go from a low point.


Typically, if you're awake during the day, in your sleep at night, you're your lowest temperature point will be. Like 3:00 a.m., 4:00 a.m., and then your temperature will start to creep up as you wake up in the morning and then it'll peak in the late afternoon and then it'll start to drop again toward the evening and then you get sleep again. That oscillation in temperature takes twenty four hours plus or minus your. Yeah. Plus or minus an hour.


And I don't even though I wasn't consulted at the design phase, I do not think it's a coincidence that it's aligned to the 24 hour spin of the Earth on its axis and the fact that we tend to be bathed in sunlight for a portion of that spin and in darkness for the other portion that's been. So there are two mechanisms, the adenosine accumulation and the circadian time point that we happen to be at, and those converge to create a sense of sleepiness or wakefulness.


The simple way to reveal these two mechanisms to uncouple them is stay up for twenty four hours and you will find that even though you've been let's say you stay up midnight, 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m., provided you're on a regular schedule like that, I follow not like the kind that you follow. You get I will get very sleepy around 3:00, 4:00 a.m. but then around 5:00 or 6:00 or 7:00 a.m., which is my normal wake up time, I'll start to feel more alert, even though adenosine has been accumulating further.


So adenosine is higher for me the longer I stay up. And yet I feel more alert than I did a few hours ago. And that's because these are two interacting forces. So adenosine makes you sleepy. And then just how sleepy or how awake you feel also depends on where you are in this temperature oscillation that takes 24 hours. OK, so that's fascinating.


So there's a bunch of oscillations going on and then it kind of through the evolutionary process, have evolved to all be aligned somewhat and they interplay. So you said your body temperature goes up and down, the chemicals in your brain that oscillate. And then there's the actual oscillation of the sun in the in the sky.


So all of that together. Has some impact on each other and somehow that all results in us wanting to go to sleep every night.


Right. So and we can get right into the meat of this issue. I guess we just dove right in. But the so the temperature oscillation is the effect of the circadian clock. So every cell in our body has a 24 hour rhythm that's dictated by genes like clock per bommel. This is one of the great successes of biology. They give a Nobel Prize to Reppert and I don't know if Reppert got it. Forgive me, but sorry if you got it.


Steve, congratulations. If you didn't, I'm sorry I wasn't on the committee nonetheless. Did beautiful work, Steve Ripperton and others. But Mike Ross Bashan, like other people, worked out these mechanisms and flies and bacteria and mammals. There are these genes that create 24 hour oscillations in gene expression, et cetera, in every cell of our body. But what aligns those is a signal from the master circadian clock, which sits right above the roof of the mouth called the suprachiasmatic nucleus.


And that clock synchronizes all the clocks of the body to this general temperature rhythm by way of controlling systemic temperature, which makes perfect sense if you want to create a general oscillation in all the tissues and organs of the body, use temperature. And so that work on temperature, if people want to explore further, was Joe Takahashi, who was at Northwestern, now at UT Southwestern in Dallas.


And it is absolutely clear that humans do better on a diagonal schedule sorry, less than a nocturnal schedule because you could say, well, provided I sleep and push adenosine back downhill, which is what happens when we sleep. Adenosine is then reduced and provided I am on more or less a 24 hour schedule. Why should it matter that I'm awake when the sun's out and and I'm asleep when the sun is down? But it it turns out that if you look at health metrics, people that are strictly nocturnal do far worse on immune function or metabolic function, et cetera, than people who are diurnal, who are awake during the daytime and animals that are nocturnal.


It's the opposite in animals that are so-called crepuscular, which tend to be active at dawn and at dusk. There's a beautiful system. I won't go down that rabbit hole. But these are animals whose visual systems operate best. They tend to be predators like mountain lions. They have optimized their waking times for the times when the animals they eat can't see well in those light conditions. But given the rod cone ratios in their eyes that the mountain lion is picking up, it's like when you see special forces and they are looking through night vision goggles and they have a clear advantage.


Right. They are seeing in the dark. That's basically what it's like to be a mountain lion as opposed to a bunny rabbit.


Would you say that a lot of these cycles evolved in the predator prey relationships of the different throughout the food chain? So it's basically all somehow has to do with survival in in this complicated web of predators and prey?


Almost certainly there had to have been a time in which humans being awake and active at night as opposed to during the day, led to high level, higher levels of lethality and probably particular in kids. You imagine kids running around in the dark and getting that where there are a lot of animals they can see really well under those conditions and humans can't. And this would be all pre electricity even if you're carrying a torch. I mean, the range of illumination on a torch is nothing compared to what a nighttime predator, like a large cat or something can can do.


I mean, they basically they can see everything they need to in order to eat us and not the other way around.


So one fascinating thing you said is that blew my mind and we went right past that, which is the temperature is a really powerful like if you were to think about the ways that different parts of the body, different systems in the body would communicate with each other, temperature would be a really good one.


And then just I mean, maybe it's obvious, but it kind of blew my mind just now that, yeah, these systems are all distributed.


Right. And they have to kind of they're not actually sending signals, but they're coordinating. They need some. Sort of universal thing to look at in order to coordinate and temperatures and nice one to to to build around, and that way you can control the behavior of all these different systems by controlling the temperature.


Right. It's attractive to think of a mechanism where the master circadian clock secretes a peptide or something that goes and locks to receptors in all the cells and gets it just right. But that leaves far too much room for variability, binding affinities, cells in a lot of parts of our body or at different stages of maturation. They're turning over liver cells and so forth. And for instance, we have a clock in our gut and in our liver. It such that if we were just take out your liver and put it on a table and just look at the expression of these genes, it would be in a 24 hour oscillation on its own.


It's independent, but something has to in train them and keep them all synchronized. And so it's not obvious that it would be temperature. Takahashi's great gift to biology was to show that all the stuff coming out of this master circadian clock. At the end of the day, that's a weird statement, no pun intended. At the end of the day and the night at the at the end of the story, it all boils down to making sure that the temperature of tissues oscillates in the same fashion as blowing my mind and thinking like what other mechanism could possibly exist to create that kind of oscillation.


Well, if you're Russian, it's cold in Russia for a lot of the year. The hibernation signal in certain animals is a remarkable signal. There are peptides secreted from this very same clock that in animals like ground squirrels or bears, they go into a kind of a torpor where everything, reproduction, metabolism, everything is reduced while they're in their cave. They don't actually stay asleep all of winter. That's a myth. And they actually do these very dramatic and periodic arousals from hibernation where they just shake and shake and shake.


It looks like a seizure and then they go back under into the torpor. That's from a peptide that's released. But that's different because that's about shutting down the whole system. It's clear that having these very regular oscillations every 24 hours is essential for everything from metabolism to reproduction.


Is there an optimal temperature for sleep that I should mention?


I think your latest episode, you and people should go check out Helix Sleep Dotcom Slash Human to support Andrew. Thanks for the plug.


I mean, the amazing thing about the stuff they created. Oh, and yes, you have a new podcast. That's amazing. And this past month, you did a whole series on sleep, which people should definitely check out.


There's some podcasts that come out that just make me want to be a better human being by just the quality 3 Blue 1 Brown Grant Sanderson is like that for me, just like, wow, this is education is Besso and symbolizes that captures that brilliantly. So go support the sponsor so he doesn't stop doing the thing.


So they, I think they have a cooling pad to so I eat sleep mattress sponsors me, they've been, they sent me a mattress and it's been, I've never listened. I used to sleep on the floor. Sleep where you fall asleep. I fall. I don't give a shit.


It doesn't, doesn't really matter.


But so like I would have never bought a nice mattress because like why I'm fine. This is a floor is fine.


But it was a game changer to be able to control temperature. Like for me it's cooling to I don't know what the hell it is you want. The brain and nervous system and rest of the body needs to drop by about anywhere from two to three degrees in order to get into your deepest sleep and transition to sleep. That's really going to help. You don't want to be cold that you're bothered and can't fall asleep. But that's why some people like it really cold in the room and under a warm blanket or with socks on.


For some people that can that can be good because this temperature oscillation is such that as your temperature is dropping, that correlates with the generally with the most sleepy phase of your circadian cycle. So cool is better for falling and staying asleep and sleeping deeply.


And then I guess that's what sleep showed. There's like an app as it warms back up to wake you up.


The idea that I haven't actually used it like this is stupid. People say it works, but just keep it the same temperature throughout the night. But warming it up, I guess, wakes you up, which is just fascinating.


Yeah, because you're the wake up signal is it's interesting to think about. It's not just correlated with an increase in body temperature. The increase in body temperature is triggering the release of cortisol from your adrenals. And that's the wake up signal.


Do you think it's absolute temperatures we're talking about is just even relative, just even just the decrease?


Well, everyone's going to have slightly. Basal temperature, the idea that everybody should be ninety eight point six, I mean, that's a myth. And there's a theories that body temperature overall has been dropping in the last 50 years or so. I doubt that's true for somebody who is athletic like you and, you know, young and healthy.


But basically the the coldest period of that 24 hour cycle is when you are going to be sleepiest. There's actually a period within that 24 hour cycle. It's a it's a time point called year temperature minimum. And your temperature minimum tends to be about two hours before your typical wake up time. I'm not saying about the wake up time in the middle of the night where you go use the bathroom or where you set an alarm to go catch a flight. I mean, if you were to just allow yourself to sleep without a clock for few days, measure when you typically wake up two hours before then as your temperature minimum and that temperature minimum turns out to be a very important landmark in your circadian cycle, because it turns out that if you get bright light in your eyes in the hours immediately before your temperature minimum.


So two to four hours or any time within the two or four hour window before that temperature minimum, you are going to what's called delay your circadian clock the next day. That whole oscillation is going to move forward. It'll make you want to go to sleep later and wake up later. Whereas if you get bright light in your eyes in the hours after that temperature minimum. So let's say for me, typical wake up time of six a.m., my temperature minimum somewhere around 4:00 a.m. if I get a bright light in my eyes, 5:00 a.m., 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., it's going to advance that oscillation so that I'll want to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier the subsequent nights.


So you might say wait, but most nights I go to sleep and wake up at more or less the same time. Why is that? And that's because the same thing is happening on both sides. You are both advancing your clock a little bit and assuming that you're looking at light in the evening, you're also delaying your clock a little bit. So you get kind of captured in between and then you're rhythm more or less oscillates at the at the same period, as we say, is the spin of the earth.


Unless you're like you wear your hats. I get text messages from you sometimes at odd hours. And I if you're on the East Coast, then I know that you had to have been pulling basically an all night.


Yeah, that's an interesting point about the messiness of sleep. So most people seem to perform the best when they have like a regular sleep schedule. I perhaps the same, but I don't know that, and I tend to believe that. You can also perform relatively optimally with chaos of sleep, of like a weird soup of like power naps and all nighters and all of that, as long as you're.


Like, happy doing what you love and maybe you can. Tell me what you think about this. I tend to, for myself, try to minimize stress in life. So what I found for myself would die with sleep is that if I obsess about it being perfect, then I'll actually stress quite a bit when it's not like I'll feel shitty.


When I don't get enough sleep because I know I should be getting more sleep as opposed to the actual physiological effects of not getting enough sleep, I find if I just accept whatever the hell happens, happens and smile and just, you know, take it all in, like David Goggins style, like if it sucks, it's even better or what is it? JoCo is like good or whatever he says. I think there are several things that you said they're important.


But I, I agree that one can have a dysregulated sleep schedule and still be a happy person and productive. Be much of my life I've pulled all nighters and slept weird schedules. You know, I think many people can probably relate to going to sleep, waking up four hours later, being up for an hour or two on your computer than going back to sleep and getting amazing sleep the next day functioning. I think we've I think it's important that people have highlighted the importance of sleep and getting enough rest.


I do think it's gone too far. And now I'm editorializing a little bit. But I think that we've created this anxiety about sleep, that it's if we don't sleep enough, we're going to get dementia. If we don't get sleep, then, you know, the reproductive access is going to, you know, completely crash. You know, there's a lot of evidence to the contrary. And as well, just based on personal experience and based on the fact that, sure, it may be that a solid eight hours with no interruptions in there or nine or 10 could do great benefit.


But you can do really well if you do what you say, which is you wake up, you don't want to start stressing about it, creating this meta stress about sleep, being happy.


It is actually one of the most powerful things that you can do, not allowing yourself to go down that rabbit hole of stress for the following reason.


A lot of our fatigue is not due just to the buildup of adenosine or time of day, the circadian thing we were talking about earlier, an additional factor is that effort is related to the release of epinephrine of adrenaline in our brain and body. At some point, those levels get so high that we get stressed mentally, we get stressed physically, and we want to give up their good data published and sell, showing that that signal, the epinephrine signal is eventually accumulates.


And there's a quick point. Dopamine, the molecule of pursuit and reward and feeling good resets our ability to be an effort, in fact. Most people don't know this, but dopamine is actually what epinephrine is made from. If you look at the biochemical cascade, it starts with tyrosine, which is rich and found in red meats and things of that sort. And tyrosine is eventually converted through things like dopa into dopamine. Dopamine is made into epinephrine. So, I mean, this sounds kind of new agey, but happiness, joy and pleasure in what you're doing creates a chemical mildew that provides more of the chemicals that allow for effort.


And there's nothing new agey about that. It's in every biochemistry textbook. It's in every decent neuroscience textbook. They just don't talk about the happiness part. They just talk about the dopamine part.


So I think that limiting your stress and at least recognizing, OK, if you're pulling an all nighter, you're somehow on messed up sleep, that there is going to be a point in that 24 hour cycle where your brain is not trustworthy, where your mental state is not worth placing too much weight on because you are near that temperature minimum and near that temperature minimum, which is correlate to that two hour, about two hours before you would normally wake up.


The brain is is hobbling along. And anything you feel or think at that time should not be given too much value. But if you can trick yourself into thinking that's the pleasure point, you afford yourself a huge advantage. There's a study done by a colleague of mine at Stanford that showed that positive anticipation about the next day events actually is a powerful metric for creating quality sleep, even if the sleep is very reduced. And you'll love this one. And I a lot of people are going to, you know, might be critical of this.


So I just want to make sure that. So this was work done out of Harvard Medical. It was Bob Stickgold slab and Emily Hoaglund did a study that showed looking at Occam performance on Oakham, OK, organic chemistry, Harvard's tough subject, highly motivated, a number of very good control groups in the study. What she showed was that consistency of total sleep duration was far more important for performance on these exams than total sleep duration itself. So it's not that just getting more sleep allows you to perform better consistently.


Getting about the same amount of sleep is is better for performance, at least on Oakham. Yeah. Than just getting more. That's interesting. So that's referring to more that there should be a consistent habit versus the total amount to me.


Like the entirety of the picture of sleep is similar to nutrition in that it feels like it's. There's so many variables involved in it, so person specific, so, you know, a lot of studies, I mean, this is the way of science has to look in aggregate the effects on sleep. It doesn't focus on high performers, which are individuals ultimately, like the question isn't so it's a very important questions like what kind of diet fights?


Obesity reduces obesity. It's another question. What kind of diet allows David Goggins to be the best version of themselves? So these high performance in different avenues and the same thing with sleep like people that tell me that I should get eight hours of sleep. It's like it's I mean, I get it and there may be right, but they may be very wrong and there's no evidence that eight is better than six, that you could very well do better on six than on eight.


There are a few other things that turn out to be strong parameters for success in this domain. For instance, your entire life, waking or sleep is broken up into these 90 minute maltreating cycles.


If you look at ability to attend or do math problems or do anything, you know, drive performance tends to ramp up slowly within a 90 minute cycle peak and then come down at the end of that 90 minute cycle. And in sleep we go through these stage one, two, three, four, REM, etc. Talk more about that if you like those on 90 minute maltreating cycles as well, ending your sleep after a 90 minute cycle at the at the near the end of a 90 minute cycle, say, at the end of six hours in many cases is better for you than sleeping an additional hour, seven hours and waking up in the middle of an all trading cycle.


And there are few apps that can measure this based on body movements and things like that that have you your alarm go off at the end of an ultrasound cycle in if you wake up in the middle of an Australian cycle, sometimes, not always, you can be very groggy for a long period of time. I certainly do better on six hours than I do on seven. I happen to like an eight hour sleep. It feels great, but I haven't slept an entire eight hours without waking up in the middle of the night at some point.


And I don't know forever. I can't remember. It's probably some point in infancy, but and I function well during the day. I think that that's a big that's an important parameter is how do you feel during the day? Almost everybody experiences some sort of dip in energy in the late afternoon or what would correlate to their temperature peak. And that's a good time of day to get either 90, 90 minute or less nap, or if you're not a napper or you can't nap, feet elevated has been shown to be good for clear out of some of this.


The lymphatic system is this kind of like sewer system of the brain that you can clear stuff out. So legs elevated. Or one thing that I've I'm a big proponent of in the my lab has been studying is what I now call NDR non-slip deep rest. And this is just lying down. There are some scripts that we're going to put out there soon as a free resource. There's some hypnosis scripts that my colleague David Spiegel has put out there as a free resource.


But non sleep depressed is allowing your system to drop into states of a real calm that allow you to get better at falling asleep later. And they can be very restorative for cognitive and motor function. There's at least one study out of Denmark that shows that the the basal ganglia, which is an area of the brain that's involved in motor planning and action, one of these 20 minute non sleep depressed protocols, resets levels of neuromodulators like dopamine in the basal ganglia to the same levels that they were right after a long night's sleep.


So I also. Respectfully or semi respectfully disagree with the idea that you can't recover lost sleep. What does that mean? I mean, there's no IRS for sleep. So what does it mean to be in debt for sleep if you're falling asleep during the day in your sleep like you're falling asleep? That's a good sign of insomnia, means you're not sleeping enough at night if you're fatigued during the day, but you're not falling asleep. So you're just exhausted, but you're not finding yourself falling asleep in meetings and in conversation.


Then chances are you're fatiguing your system through something else, like a long run in the middle of the night in Boston or whatever it is that you're up to lately at three a.m..


Yes, there is a magic to the nap. And maybe you could speak to the because you mentioned these protocols that don't necessarily. And so there are non sleep.


But to me, the nap one or two a day can almost irrespective of how much sleep I get the night before, I have a fundamental change in my mood and my performance.


For the better. For the better. For the better. Yeah, likewise.


So I do tend to kind of experiment with durations. It's it's consistently surprising to me how like a nap of like ten minutes.


I don't know, maybe you can speak to the perfect duration of a nap, but I find that it's like magic that a short nap does as much good and often better than a longer one for me. For me, subjective.


What would be a longer one? Longer than 90 minutes, you know, like 90 minutes, but longer than 90 minute. Like two hours.


Yeah, that's dropping you starting to drop you into REM sleep. And even if it's a tiny amount of REM sleep, people can come out of those naps kind of disoriented. I may remember in sleep, space and time are are totally uncoupled. And so they that's an odd state to reenter the world. And if you're not going to stay there for a while, like for a good night's sleep, I think a 20 minute nap is pretty fantastic.


Would you say that if you were to recommend to the general, it's very weird to recommend anything to the general populace because obviously it's very person specific. But what's a good one we say to friends is 20 minutes on, 30 minutes, 20 or 30 minutes, because you're going unless you're sleep deprived, you're going to stay out of REM sleep, rapid eye movement, sleep. If you're sleep deprived, you'll drop right into it. If you've ever traveled and you're really jet lagged, you go to the hotel, you lay down for one second.


All of a sudden you're just like you're you're in a psychedelic dream, which can be pretty great, too.


But I think that twenty, thirty minutes. And if you can't sleep, some people have trouble napping, then learning to relax the body as much as possible, like trying to remove all expression from your face completely letting your body kind of float if people have a hard time relaxing when they're awake, there's some terrific clinical and research tested hypnosis protocols that we could provide links to that are cost free and that teach you how to just completely. Release the alertness button and you just start drifting.


Now, the problem is if you don't have an alarm or something to go off you the other day I did one and I'm almost embarrassed to say this, but there's a component of it where you actually are supposed to let your hand float up because it's a hypnosis script. So they it's my colleague David Spiegel in the script. He says, let your hand float up. I woke up an hour later.


My hand was still floating. Yeah. And I was and I was completely relaxed.


So hypnosis, hypnosis is just a matter of going deep relaxation, narrowing of context, and it's all self-imposed. A lot of people think that hypnosis is like the stage thing with the pendant and the chicken, you know, people acting like chickens. But you can also say this is self hypnosis you're listening to. It involves some shifts in the way that you the the hypnotic induction involves looking up, closing your eyes slowly, deep breath, and then imagine yourself floating.


And people vary on a scale of about one to four for being the most easily hypnotized. There are a few people who it's very hard for them to allow themselves to to go into these states. But for most people, they just they're gone. And it's nice if if you can have access to those states, because when you come out of it, you feel amazing. You feel like you slept the whole night. At least most people report that a refreshed alert ready to go.


I mean, basically, you're ready. Yeah, I know you have this interesting challenge coming up. And I'm curious what you're going to do to reset in the hours that the frequency of running is every four hours. It's not going to allow you to get any more than a couple hours sleep in between hours.


So we should we should tell to people. I'd be curious to get your thoughts and advice on it. I'm on March 5th, running forty miles with Mr. David Gorgons. So four miles every four hours and people should join us. He's that mad man. There's going to be live on Instagram starting at 8:00 p.m. Pacific on March 5th. So you're going to join them in person, in person, undisclosed location, undisclosed location. And I was I was trying to clarify, like, OK, so we're going to.


Like they'll be like friendly people around or something. No, it's just me and him friendly people. I don't know, like I just feel it's very difficult to be with David alone in the room.


I imagine his I mean, I've done some work with David. His energy is infectious. That's an intense schedule. And the the periodicity of those four hour every four hours for miles means that there's no chance of catching an extended block of sleep.


So there's about three hours that you have not exercising every time. And of course, it takes time to try to fall asleep. And there's an intensity to the whole thing. I mean, it's probably impossible to get anything more than two hours of sleep if you wanted to. So the optimal thing is probably from the sound of it. I'd be curious to see what you think, but I guess getting a few 90 minute naps. Well, I thought about this a bit before we met up today.


So I think there are two general approaches that could work. Neither one necessarily better than the other one would be just to hammer through the whole thing, just to get your level of alertness and adrenaline ramped up so that you don't expect yourself to sleep. There are certain advantages there. One is a subjective kind of emotional advantages, which is if you can't sleep, you're not going to be stressed about that. Yes. And if you do fall asleep, it's a bonus provided you wake up and you don't look up and you realize David's been out running for half an hour and you're behind.


Right. But chances are that's not the way to go. You set an alarm. So that's one approach.


And and I grab that from, you know, a couple of friends who were who are in the SEAL teams. And they'll say that, you know, during buds, there's this infamous hell week and there's this five hour, five day excuse me, definitely five days of no sleep, although there is a component where they offer a nap at one particular point. And a lot of people will say that it's worse to go down for that nap and then be woken up 20 minutes later than to just stay up.


So. So that's one option. Let's call it the full blitz hammer through option. And if you happen to fall asleep, you do bonus the bonus.


The other one would be to really anchor in these all treatment cycles. So coming back from a run, unless you're thoroughly exhausted, you're probably going to have a few minutes where you're going to want to stay awake. It's going to be hard to just immediately fall asleep and getting as much sleep as you can in the intervening periods provided you guys aren't posting constantly or doing something else. Also, there's a question whether or not you want to nourish whether or not you want to eat or not.


In that time, any time we put food in our gut, I don't care if it's meat or oatmeal or broccoli or cardboard, you're drawing blood into the gut. And so you are going to divert some energy towards digestion and it's going to make you sleepy. There's a reason why the rest and digest the parasympathetic nervous system is called that.


So you could decide that you were only going to sleep in certain in between certain blocks.


That would be another way to think about this, that because I did this last year, I ran very slow. Some of it was walking, I was listening audiobooks. And one of the biggest mistakes I did is to overeat during that time. But it was made the experience very unpleasant. So I have been considering basically eating almost nothing throughout the day.


Being fasted will increase alertness because high levels of epinephrine in your system from fasting, you just think about fasting or being thirsty before you get exhausted. You always think if I don't eat, I'm going to be tired. Know that the energy that you derive from food is going to be used from glycogen. And after a long storage and conversion process, so the food that you eat is going to consume energy to digest. And so a lot of people feel better fasted.


And presumably throughout history, people have fasted for long periods of time and had to stay up for two or three days. And, you know, God forbid if a family member is sick, you can stay awake in the hospital without any trouble. So that alertness system and it's you know, it's all mental, actually. And then there's a third. So you could try and sleep or take care in between. Yes. Yeah. And then there's a third approach.


Oh yeah. But I didn't come up with it what David did. So I actually texted him earlier because I had a feeling that I heard that you were going to do this challenge.


So I asked David, so these are David Gorgons words, not mine.


One being organized is super important to you want to waste as little time as possible. Three, you need to eat, sleep and rehab in as little time as possible so you can sleep as much as possible. Interesting. By the way, this is the first time I'm reading this.


So for meal prep and gear prep, et cetera, are very. That's that's consistent with everything I know about military, they don't they don't leave too much to chance five. Again, these are David's words. All that said, he's fucked on most of them because he'll be interviewing me before or after. I will also be interviewing him. Oh, shit. Five.


Long story short, the only thing that might help is a very special pill. This is interesting. They're called SEIU pills.


Hard to get, but I believe he can get them. SEIU stands for Suck It Up, tell him to grab his balls.


He'll find those pills there.


So that's number six. And then the last one, stay half brother, stay half brother.


Aimen You know, that was one of the other things that I think makes this challenging is that I'll be doing a podcast throughout. So, first of all, I'll do a long one before and after, but also. I'll have to come up with things to talk to him about. So it's a different thing to do something privately and then publicly, I know it doesn't seem that way, but like. One of the hardest the hardest thing I had to do last time was to turn on the camera and talk to the camera, because I last time I did it, I recorded every single time I did a leg, I recorded something I'm grateful for.


It's just kind of unrelated. I'm not a fan of, like, talking about like how I'm feeling or how Iran is going. I want to do something totally unrelated to the run with the run as the background, you know, sort of something I'm grateful for. Just any kind of interesting discussion, gratitude.


I mean, I hate the word hack like, oh, it's a dopamine high to serotonin. I don't like the word hack because it's disrespectful to hackers who do a real thing and be a hack implies that it's some sort of trick that you're you're you're kind of gaming the system. You know what what works is mechanism. Right? Biological mechanisms were designed to work and they were selected for to work under variable conditions. And as you know and I know and we have great appreciation for the fact that the nervous system was designed to be an adaptive machine so that you don't have to sleep eight hours every night.


You can do this thing. And things like gratitude allow you to tap into chemical resources. And that's not a hack. Did the fact that being grateful for something external to the event happens to release serotonin and have a certain soothing effect or dopamine and give you more epinephrine and let you go further, that's not a hack. That's actually what allowed the human machine to evolve to the point that it is now every time, you know, an inventor eventually created something that worked and felt great about it.


You can imagine that the the first, you know, air flight felt pretty awesome and motivated those people to go on and do more, that they didn't just go on, you know, yawn and go have a beer.


So being able to access the genuine internal states of gratitude and reward works, you can't trick the system. You can't pretend that you're grateful for something. But if you can identify or attach yourself to some larger goal or something that's deeply gratifying to you or place it in service to a relative that passed away that you care a lot about, that's not a hack that's accessing the deepest components of your nervous system and to steal your kind of lingo.


You know, there's real beauty there, right? Yeah. But for an introvert like myself and I think, David, I don't know if he's an introvert, but like he's not. Despite the fact that he has written a great book and he communicates, he puts himself out there, he's not really a fan of communication. He's not I don't know if he's energized by speaking his mind.


I don't know him well enough to know. I mean, we've done a little bit of work together and, you know, we're in communication now. And again, he's obviously super impressive. I don't know.


It seems that he seems like he's a pretty private guy, you know, so I don't have access to that. So for me, I'll just speak to myself. And I think David is the same, but I'll speak to myself that it was a hugely draining thing not to experience the gratitude, experience and the gratitude, just like you're saying, is really energizing. And it's it's a powerful thing. It's a it's a it can lift up your mood, but to turn on the camera and have to use words, which is very difficult to do to explain.


Like what you're feeling and do it in a way that, you know, a bunch of people will be watching is really draining. And one of the things I'm concerned about is that in this whole process, how do I keep my mind sharp while also keeping the performer, the physical performer, sharp?


And that's a little bit scary because talking to David, like actual intellectually sharp, like thinking, being charismatic and as much as I can be and like being so maintaining a sense of humor, too, because I can I become with the deprivation, with exhaustion, you start being the Russian bear comes out, you start being such a like you I've become a David Goggins essentially like, oh, it makes you irritable.


Sleep deprivation makes us irritable. Yeah, it's clear. So that in the early part of the night we get a higher percentage of those old treatment cycles are occupied by slow wave sleep, sometimes just called non rem sleep. And those early night sleep bouts are great for muscular repair and for certain forms of learning. But REM sleep, the rapid eye movement sleep, which it starts to accumulate and occupy more of those 90 minute electricity and cycles toward the late part of a sleep out.


So toward typically toward morning, but toward after even the sleep a while. That's when you do the emotional processing. That's when we recover the ability to feel refreshed and not irritated by things.


And if you deprive people of REM sleep, they become selectively bad at uncoupling the emotion from things that happened in the previous days.


So the little things start to seem like big things.


I always know I'm rem sleep deprived when I'm irritable and when I look at like the word thought and it doesn't look like it's spelled right and I'm kind of pissed off about it. Something's off and we actually are becoming slightly psychotic when we're REM sleep deprived. You're not going to get a lot of REM sleep in this thing except as you fatigue more. If you do fall asleep, you're going to drop more and more into REM so that those 90 minute cycles, you won't have to go through stage one, stage two, Sastry and then REM.


You're just going to drop right into REM so you can count on your system to compensate for you.


But I think that just the knowledge that you tend to get irritable as the time goes on to say that third person thing of yourself and that awareness, the observer, that can be very beneficial because there may be bouts during this event when you just should probably say nothing and maybe you just smile and record or not smile or do whatever it is because you're going to be conserving energy.


If it feels like a grind, that's epinephrine being released, that's epinephrine that you could devote to the physical effort. But humor is an amazing anecdote for this because it resets that it's that dopamine release that gives us that fresh perspective. And it's a it's a real chemical thing. It's not a it's not a hack. It's not a it's not a trick. It's not a visualization. It's biology in action.


Well, but I think the act of interviewing, of conversation in this process, even if you don't want to do it, the right thing to do, even when you're feeling irritable, is just to do the third person view and be able to express with words that you're feeling irritable, like express what you're going through, you know, use words which I hate doing. I honestly, I think my ultimate thing would be just to never say a single word demagogery and just go through hell.


It doesn't matter what we do, but to do it quietly, to also express it, that's my ultimate hell. And he's definitely going to be if I know David at all, he's he's going to try and find your buttons like he's going to hit. I mean, he even though he knows he can complete this and I believe that he trusts that you can complete it, too. I believe you can. You will complete it. You know you will complete it.


Right. There's no question about that. But he's not going make it easier for you. He's going to make it harder.


Well, I'm afraid so. I'm like, you know, it's very difficult for me. So. Forty miles is not easy. I have not been training that much. I'm now ramping up. But it's not like going to kill me. We'll see what happens. Of course, for him, he might always get bored because I think the forty eight miles for him is easy, I think. I not know that I don't know that ever gets easy, I have a friend, Casey Cordiale, who works with DaVita's, does some physical rehab type stuff with him, and he took Casey on a 50 mile or and it's like six miles into it.


He was just like he hit his wall, but he found it. They they find it to get you know, you find that portal.


There is one thing I want to mention. There's some very good physiology that can perhaps support the actual running effort part.


These are very new data. And we have a study going on with David Spiegel at Stanford looking at how different patterns of breathing can affect heart rate variability. Heart variability is good. There's this interesting mechanism I think most people might not realize, but that medical students learn that your breathing and your heart rate and your brain are in this really remarkable interplay. It goes like this when you inhale. This isn't breath work. We're not going to breath work.


But when you inhale, the diaphragm moves down, the heart gets a little bigger because there's a little more space in the thoracic cavity. And as a consequence, blood flows a little bit more slowly through that larger volume. And there's a category of neurons, the sign of atrial node that sees that that recognizes that that slower rate through that larger volume sends a signal to the brainstem and the brainstem sends a signal back to the heart to speed the heart up.


So every time you inhale your speed, the heart up, when you exhale, the diaphragm moves up, the heart gets a little smaller, the volume smaller, blood flows more quickly through the heart signal sent up to the brain and the brain sends a signal back to slow the heart down. This is the basis of heart rate variability. So at any point, if you feel like your heart is racing and you feel like you're working too hard per unit of effort, focus on making your exhales longer or more intense than your inhales.


If ever you feel like you're truly flagging, you do not have the energy to get up. It's like, OK, it's time to go and you're exhausted. You want to draw more oxygen into the system, get your heart rate going faster.


Now, some people want to hear this, probably think, well, this is really obvious, but there's so much out there about breath work and how to breathe and all this stuff. But no one talks about how to do it in real time while you're exerting effort.


So this is something like almost like second by second you can adjust things to just in real time based on how you're feeling. But it's the heart. That's right. The experience of the heart rate. That's right.


So one thing that could could be very efficient and we're doing some work with athletes now is these are unpublished data. But if you while you're running, if you want to get into a nice cadence of heart rate variability, do double inhales while you're running.


What this will do is that when you do the double inhale has the effect of of reopening the violi of the lungs. Your lungs are filled with tons of little sacs. When you they tend to collapse as you fatigue when you add carbon dioxide builds up in the bloodstream. And that's when we start getting stress. If you've ever been sprinting, you start getting beat and you're going as hard as you can with what you really need to do is double inhale and reinflate these sacs in the lungs and then offload a lot of carbon dioxide.


So when you're at a steady cadence and you're feeling good, double inhale, exhale, double inhale, exhale is a terrific way to breathe while you're in ongoing effort.


By the way, any recommendations are differences in nose or mouth breathing. So nasal breathing.


There's a lot of excitement now, obviously, about nasal breathing because of James Nestor's book Breath. There was also if people are going to know about that book that I do feel like out of respect for my colleagues, there was a book by Sandra Kohn and Paul Erlik at Stanford, both professors at Stanford with a forward by Jared Diamond and Robert Sapolsky. So some heavy hitters in this book. And the book is called Jaws A Hidden Epidemic. And it's all about how nasal breathing is better for us, especially kids, than being mouth breathers under most conditions.


For sake of improving immunity. It turns out there's a microbiome in the nose, like all sorts of good stuff about nasal breathing preferentially. But when we exercise, you can you can do pure nasal breathing.


But the problem is, once you get up to kind of third and fourth and fifth gear effort, you can't get nasal breathe and be at maximum capacity unless you've been training it for a very long time. So I would say double inhale through the nose, offload through the mouth. So double inhale, exhale while you're in steady effort. And then if you really feel like you need to gas it and you're pushing the data, show that then just use whatever's there.


Right. Just go into kind of default mode because bringing too much concentration to something is also going to spend epinephrine. The goal is to get into that. I don't like the word, but the flow state where you're not thinking too much, you're just in exertion. So these are so these are things that can help in the transitions. But I don't think there's any secret breathing technique.


You know, anyone who's been in the SEAL teams will kind of, you know, they'll tell you like there's no breathing technique, right? There's a there's tools that you can look to from time to time. And these. Sales can be great for setting heart rate variability very quickly and getting into a steady cadence while you're exercising, but if there's a sprint, like if suddenly you guys are sprinting, ditch the ditch the double inhale, exhale and just sprint.


The one thing you mentioned, he's probably going to push my buttons. It's a good place to ask a question about anger, so I'll probably get pissed off at him at some point, I'm guessing. And you have thoughts.


From a scientific perspective or also just the personal philosophical perspective about the role of anger in all of this and in managing alertness performance. I think about this a lot because there's so much out there about how important it is to do things from a place of love.


You know, I tweet about it all the time and I think. And love is powerful, right?


You know, it is interesting that autonomic arousal, alertness, let's just make use simple language alertness physiologically looks identical for love and excitement, as it does for anger and frustration and wanting to defeat your opponent. Whoever that opponent happens to be, they're identical, except that the love component does tend to be associated with the release of neurochemicals of the serotonin and dopamine type that do have this replenishment component. I don't think one wants to be in constant anger and friction, but.


I mean, I'll come clean a bit, there been portions of my career where some of my best work, my extra two hours, my ability to nail a really hard deadline or problem has come from not wanting to get out competed or for wanting to prove something that these days I don't I'm not oriented from that place toward my work quite as often. But I think we should be really honest. Anger is powerful provided it's channeled.


It's very, very powerful, and it can give you a ton of fuel and gas to push when otherwise you tap.


Yeah, Joe Rogan has, aside from being a fan of his, has been an inspiration to sort of be to have a kind of loving view on the world. And we approached the world to me. So I've tended to want to approach the world that way. But in the same way, David Goggins has been an inspiration to like. Yeah, be angry at stuff and use it as fuel, like he almost conjures up artificial demons in his mind just so he can fight them, you know, but at the same time, I tried that.


I did a challenge in the summer of work for 30 days.


I was doing a lot of pushups and it was over time. It was counterproductive for me. They I found that it was easier to just. Like the roller coaster that the emotional like being angry stuff takes, you can also be exhausting. Oh, absolutely. And it can take you like the the ups of it are good, but the downs are bad. And what I found is better to get to use it as a boost every once in a while, but mostly to get lost in the you're talking about the breath work, the like getting lost in the ritual of it, like the beat like that, as opposed to going on the big roller coaster of emotion.


Yet this brings us into the realm of neuroendocrinology. There's a fascinating relationship between the hormone system and the nervous system. And, you know, hormones work in general on slower time scales. The definition of hormone is something is chemical released at one location. The body goes and acts at multiple locations far away within the body. Pheromones would be between two bodies. Neurochemicals like dopamine, serotonin tend to work a little more quickly. There are hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that can work very fast.


But here I'm referring mainly to testosterone. Prolactin. Prolactin tends to be in men and women, tends to make people kind of lazy and want to take care of young. It tends to throw down body fat so we can stay up late. It secreted in response to having children. These are all in humans and in animals. There's a very interesting relationship between testosterone and dopamine that speaks directly to what we're talking about now. So dopamine and testosterone are closely related in the pituitary system.


And obviously testosterone comes from the adrenals and from the testes. But the major effect of testosterone is to make effort feel good. That's what testosterone does. It has other effects to reproductive effects and modernizing parts of the body, et cetera. But it makes effort feel good. The testosterone molecule is synthesized from cholesterol. Cholesterol can either be made into cortisol, a stress hormone or testosterone, but not both. So you have a limited amount of cholesterol and it gets diverted towards stress or towards tests or this pathway where effort feels good.


Hmm. That's the pathway you want to get into the anger pathway, if we were to just kind of play of a mind experiment here, the anger eventually is going to divert more of that cholesterol molecule to cortisol and stress and you will be slowly depleting testosterone.


Now, going into this, you'll have plenty of testosterone. But after a couple of days, there have been very interesting studies showing that testosterone doesn't necessarily drop with sleep deprivation. That's a bit of a myth. You need it to replenish. You need sleep to replenish testosterone eventually. But the real question is, are you enjoying what you're doing?


And here that the work was some of the major work on this was done by Duncan French, who runs the UFC training center. He did as she at UConn stores did a really beautiful thesis looking at the relationship between stress hormones, testosterone and dopamine.


Really interesting work. And that the takeaway from all of this is if you can just convince yourself or ideally if you can just enjoy yourself, you are going to maintain or maybe even increase testosterone stores, which will make effort feel good.


And to me, aside from neuroplasticity, where everything becomes automatic after this experience, to me that's the Holy Grail. When effort feels good, life just gets way better. And we're not talking about achieving the reward. I'm not talking about the end of this thing. I'm talking about the process of it feeling really good. Yeah.


You know, there is a magic to. I don't know if you can comment on this, but I found myself. Being able to if I just say I'm feeling good, like this old hack of, like, smiling while you're running, if it if I just tell myself I'm feeling really good right now, no matter how I'm actually feeling, I'll start feeling way better. And the whole thing, there's a cascading effect that allows me to maximize the effort.


It's it's quite fascinating. It's weird. Hormones are powerful.


The relationship between thoughts and hormones and these physiological things is enormous. I had a colleague that a few years ago he was dying of pancreatic cancer and I was interviewing him just because he's an important figure in our community. And I was a friend. And there was one day where he he told me, he said, you know, I don't want to make it past the new year. I just and it was it was crushing for me to hear. And I knew that he had been on some androgen therapy for for a whole set of other things.


And I I said, you know, have you taken your and your estrogen cream? And he was like, no, I haven't done it. Go get it for me. I have this on film. He takes it. He puts the Andrew cream on. I'm not suggesting people take androgens, by the way, 10 minutes later, he says, you know what, I think I want to live into the new year and I'm going to write 12 letters of recommendation.


He went to MIT, by the way. He said, I'm going to write 12 letters of recommendation. And he did. And so there's something about these molecules that in an ancient way, in all organisms, all mammals, as far as we know, are linked to the will to live. They're linked to effort and making effort feel good, which has been fundamental to the evolution of our species. I always say people think that the opposite of testosterone is estrogen, but it's not the opposite of testosterone is prolactin, which makes us feel quiescent and not in pursuit of things, et cetera.


Testosterone makes effort feel good, estrogen makes emotions feel OK.


And and they are in mixed amounts and in people, as I say, of all chromosomal backgrounds.


Yeah, yeah. I mean, you also mentioned fasting potentially through this two day thing. It'd be cool to get your thoughts about fasting in general. Do you think, on a personal level and at a higher sort of level of studies that you're aware of and physiology and so on, what do you think about intermittent fasting of like not eating for sixteen hours and then having an eight hour window or something?


I've been doing a lot recently, which is eating only once a day. So that's twenty four hour fast, I guess. One meal a day or something of.


Been thinking about doing haven't done yet or doing like 72 hours, as some people do, like five day fests in general. So this would be for this particular run would be a 48 hour fast if I don't need it at all. What do you think about that for performance from Mood, for all those kinds of things?


I can speak a little bit to the science and a little bit of my own experience and then some anecdotes of people that have done very hard, very long duration things and what they've told me. So I just want to make sure I'm separating those out so people know my sourcing.


I think now none of this is about the actual long term nutritional benefits of one thing or the other. But if you look at the science on intermittent fasting, it's pretty remarkable. Before I was at Stanford, my lab was in San Diego. One of my colleagues was such an pande at the Salt is phenomenal. Biologist and researcher wrote a book called The Circadian Code. It's very, very good and kind of popularized intermittent fasting, although there were others that had talked about this before or Imhoff.


Meckler talked about the warrior diet. People probably might not know who or he is, but he's he's sort of the originator of the this business of intermittent fasting, eating once a day or limited.


Anyway, such has published papers, peer reviewed papers and very good journals like Cell and elsewhere showing that limiting the consumption of calories to eat, you know, for six or eight or even 10 hours of every 24 hour cycle. And keeping that more or less correlated with the light with when the sun is out leads to less liver disease, improved metabolic markers, less body fat, et cetera. In the mouse studies, they even gave the mice the choice to eat whatever they want as much as they want, as long as they restrict it to a certain period.


Within the 24 hour cycle, they they did great. They they maintained a healthy weight or even lost weight when they took the same amount of food and they stretched it out across the twenty for the entire 24 hour cycle. So this is eating every hour or two hours. The animals got fat and sick. So it's pretty remarkable data. How much of that translates to humans isn't clear. But one thing that's really clear with humans is adherence. Right.


We could talk a lot about nutrition and some of the problems with the studies on nutrition is that what people will do in the laboratory is often hard to do in the real world. Low carbohydrate diets just they tend because they tend to focus on foods that have high amino acid content like meats. Generally, people are less hungry on those than they are on calorie matched diets of fruits and vegetables and carbohydrates, because when the insulin goes up, you get hungry and you want to eat more.


So this is not a push for carnivore push against one thing or the other. It's just there are a lot of factors. But we know for sure that when you're fasted or when you have low amounts of carbohydrate in your system, complex carbohydrate, your alertness is going to go up fast, increases, increases, alertness and epinephrine for the sole purpose of getting you to go out and find food. Imagine if our ancestors got hungry and they were like, oh, I'm too tired to go find food.


We wouldn't be here. You'd be like robots or something.


One of your one of here alien bodies will be like running. So I think that if you want to be alert, fasting or keeping complex carbohydrates to a minimum is very valuable. If you want to sleep and you want to be sleepy ingesting foods that have a lot of tryptophan, which is the precursor to serotonin. So complex carbohydrates like rice and grains, turkey, white meats, those things do create a sense of sleepiness. However, there is a caveat, and this is one problem with the once a meal, once a day meal is that any time you have a lot of food in the gut, you're increasing sleepiness because you're diverting blood to the gut.


It's going to trigger the Vegas to signal to the brain to shut down your system and utilize those nutrients, digesting utilizes nutrients. So I've done the once a day eating thing. The problem is I eat so much in that meal that I'm exhausted. And so it doesn't always lend itself well to the schedule. But so it has six or eight hour eating block for me is a little bit better. I do eat carbohydrates. I'm probably one of the few people left on the West Coast that actually consumes carbohydrates.


And I say that out loud. People eat carbs anymore.


That's weird. They don't. Do you even find card? What do you find is I like oatmeal. I like rice. The other time is if people are doing very high intensity weight trend, they need to replenish glycogen down their alertness.


I do feel like it's probably person dependent for me. Alertness. Being alert makes my life better in a lot of ways more than just the alertness itself. Like, for example, one of the things that I discovered with fasting is that when I was training twice a day in jiu jitsu, for example, and competing and so on, I performed way better at at things that you traditionally would say you need carbs for, which is explosive moments and all that.


I don't know if I actually perform better in terms of like the the. Force of the explosion, the explosiveness, what I do know is the alertness resulted in me doing the technique more precisely, that's the dopamine and epinephrine system in action.


And there's, you know, there are some other just purely physical aspects to one diet versus the other that can be complicated if you're ingesting carbohydrates complex or you're going to replenish glycogen, which is great. But they also tend to be bulky and fibrous. And I don't never roll jujitsu, but running when you have a lot of bulky fibrous food in your in your gut or in your intestine, it can be a barrier.


It can be uncomfortable. And so some people do really well on low carbohydrate meat rich diets because they're just not as bloated, they're not carrying as much water and other stuff. That carbohydrate carries a lot of water molecules with it. So there are aspects to being able to train and being really explosive because you feel light. One anecdote that really again, I'm not encouraging any one particular kind of diet, but I have a friend who is in the in the SEAL teams.


I happen to know a number of people in that community. And he told me that he did this very long, fast. It was so fast that I think they you get to eat a little bit of soup and or broth and there's like a bar or something, but it's like a nine day thing. And he's he's a very strong athlete. And he said that on day six or seven, he was running up some hills or something while he was on deployment.


And he felt amazing.


He kind of hit this other level. He was somebody who had boxed in the Naval Academy.


He was somebody who was had he knew, knows and knew high output.


And he felt like he discovered the the 13th floor, that there was another floor to this performance space that he hadn't experienced except while he had fasted. And he said that that was a remarkable clarity of mind energy. It's a little bit of what you describe. He described a kind of suppleness and explosiveness.


So there's probably something there on which day at once he was in the fifth or sixth day of the this is the thing is, I've never been there on the second, third, fourth or fifth day, that kind of thing.


But when I just don't eat for 20 hours. Many times through my training, the clarity, it's like you feel like everyone is moving super slowly and you're able to like dominate people.


You weren't able to before.


It's like, well, you might have slipped into or switched over, rather, into full ketosis and ketogenic diet done properly can be great for people. The problem is, if you do it wrong, you can really mess.


I tried it once and I basically got psoriasis. I thought my scalp was going to fall off. I was like sloughing off all this. And I stopped and I was taking the liquid ketones and then all of a sudden I felt better again. But I was told that I just did it wrong.


Yes, that's so I think there's a right way and a wrong way. And you have to get it right. Definitely.


And so I've experimented quite a bit with keto to see how my body feels and doing it the right way and following all the instructions. There's definitely a huge difference that like, for example, one of the things I discovered, everyone always said this and but I tried this recently over the past year as I started drinking when I don't feel great if I'm fasting. Bone broth, chicken bone marrow. Yeah. And for some reason, like magically it could be this is the thing, the mind, I don't know, but it makes me feel really good.


Oh well it could be the salt so I mean neuron's the action potential neurons as you know is sodium is rushing into the cell. You need enough extracellular sodium in order for your brain and nervous system to function. And so salt I mean, unless people have hypertension, salt is great. There was an article in Science magazine about a decade ago about how salt had been demonized. Unless people have hypertension, provide you drink enough water, salt is great. You need sodium, magnesium and potassium to function and for your nerve cells to work, I mean, people over drink water and don't consume enough electrolyte dye.


Hydration is really important. I know David's really into hydration. He's mentioned that a few times. I mean, hydrating properly is key. And so you definitely want to make sure that you're drinking enough water and getting enough electrolytes that we should have actually talked about that at the beginning, because that's going to keep your nervous system functioning well. And a lot of people, they'll get shaky or jittery and when they're fasting and they'll think they need sugar and if they just put some salt in some water, they are fine.


And the other stuff, potassium, magnesium, whatever the other electrolytes are. But yeah. So I mean salt. Yeah, solecisms good. Before sleep salt. I mean, this is a vast space and we're kind of talking about the overlap between neurochemicals, hormones and nutrition. And it's a fascinating space and it's one that the academic community has Jem's within the textbooks. It hasn't really made it into the public sphere yet. And I think that's because people get so caught up in the, you know, being are you vegan or are you carnivore?


And there's a vast space in between two that people can explore. Like I'm not a competitive athlete, so I eat meat and I also vegetables and I fruits. And it's just about timing them. But I tend to eat carbohydrates when I want to be sleepy. I eat them at night and everyone said, that's the worst thing. You can't do that you sleep great after eating a big bowl of pasta. I'll tell you.


And by the way, I should give you a big thank you for connecting me with Bill Campeau Farms. They send me some meat, I think, because of you.


And it's delicious. So I really I really appreciate it. I mean, it also connected to this whole world of people who are doing farming in this ethical way and like really love the whole process and like as a form of both like a human level, but also scientific level.


And the result is it's like ethical, but also delicious. And it makes you think about your diet in a whole new kind of way. Yeah, I've known I don't have any commercial relationship to Bill Campbell, so I can be very clear.


I've known on your Fernald who one of the founders is the founder and CEO of Delcampo. I've known her since the ninth grade. It is true that her parents are faculty members at Stanford. They're colleagues of mine. But she is a serious academic of nutrition, but also of sustainable agriculture, of, you know, all sorts of things. And also the meat just it's awesome. It tastes really good. And no, I'm not getting paid to say that.


No, they're not sponsoring my podcast.


It's just if I feel like if you're going to eat animals, if that's in your framework, you're going to animals.


Knowing that the animals were raised as happy as could be until the time of slaughter is is at least important to me and actually talk to her.


So I will talk to her on this podcast, actually. And she invited me like a week ago out to visit the farm in May or June or whatever. Yeah, they have the farm up at the Oregon border. I haven't been there yet, but I've seen the pictures and it looks awesome. And I was like, yes, looks beautiful. Let me know when you're going. Yeah, yeah.


I gather you'll probably run there, but I'll drive there.


Yeah, but that all that said, I do want to because a lot of people who are vegan. Right. To me and I. Do you want to seriously, in the same seriousness that I approached Cairo? I do want to go on a few months to switch to a vegan diet at some point to really try it.


I haven't done it yet because I'm afraid I'm in a function better.


I'm argentino by my dad's side and I don't eat I don't eat meat super often, but well, for most people it would seem often. But but I do love steak. I do. So I'm afraid I'm going to feel better. There's a social element to think you're right, because coming from a Russian background, like I can't imagine going to visit my folks like my parents for Thanksgiving is something to say. Mom and dad, you know, I don't eat meat, so, you know.


Well, I think if you're going to eat meat, getting it from sources that are compatible with, you know, continuation of the planet is good. I mean, there are some some real problems with the factory farm. You know, you drive up and down the five and you pass that point where all those cows I mean, as somebody who loves animals, it's it's clear that it's you know, you want to limit the amount of suffering of those animals.


Whenever I hear about, you know, we have we know people that hunt and that go and get their own meat.


I really admire that. I'm sure that people do that. We we don't tend to do that in the hills around Stanford. You know, they're mountain lions back there, but that's about it.


And I'm I'm certainly I admire the vegan mindset of being of just making that decision. You're just not going to consume other beings. But, you know, I haven't gone that way performance wise.


I'm just curious because I was surprised. I was certain that eating five, six, seven meals a day is the right thing to do for if you want to be perform your best. When I was like twenty or whatever and I would eat oatmeal like I thought, it's obvious I have to have a really a lot of carbs in the breakfast. I had a lot of preconceived notions and then when I started eating like once a day, this was at the peak of my competing.


So it was like everything I know about nutrition is wrong. Now you realize that, like, you have to become a scientist. First of all, you have to read literature, you have to learn, you experiment, but you also have to become a scientist of your own body. And in the same way, I have a lot of preconceived notions of what performance is like under a vegan diet. And I want to do it right, like seriously, not not necessarily for the ethical reasons, but to see if its performance was like, can I remember there's a fruitarian diet.


We eat fruit only. You know, these extremes are like they're pretty they're interesting because people have this need. The extremes are informative, though, right? I mean, well, controlled experiments, you eliminate as many variables as you can except the one you're interested in. So people are running these experiments.


I think that. It's hard to imagine getting I know people say you can get enough amino acids from plant based sources, and I believe that I think it probably takes a little more work. One thing that's really clear is that the benefit of these omega three omega six ratio is like fish oils and things like that. There are some data that show that the getting at least a thousand milligrams of the EPA, which is in high end fish oils, but other things to even some meats and other plants, it in double, you know, in matched placebo, double blind controlled studies, placebo controlled double blind studies have shown that those can offset antidepressive symptoms as much as some of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac, Prozac and Zoloft.


So that's pretty impressive.


And in Scandinavia, people know, especially in winter, to consume a lot of those omega 3s because they're good for you. They're good for the brain.


That's the other question. Nutrition wise, what kind of stuff have you come across that's useful? Like, I basically only take fish oil, like you said, electrolytes, electrolytes with water. David Gorgons diet, fish oil plus fish oil. And then again, the sponsor, they've made it so easier to sponsor your podcast and mine flooded Greens that cost less government support. I don't know.


I don't know. Like, it's great stuff for sure, but also just takes away the headache of, like, I don't have to think about. Yeah, you're going to get a bunch of vitamins and minerals, you know, does that sounds like a plug. But I have genuinely been buying it, you know, no discount, no affiliation or anything since twenty twelve. I think I've heard about it on the Tim Ferriss podcast was like, oh I'm going to try that stuff.


And I liked it. I mean when I was starting my lab, I was working insane hours. I still work very long hours and getting sick limits productivity. And I also wanted to train and I wasn't doing much training back then. Now I try and get, you know, three or four sessions in a week. I'm not doing nothing like what you and David are doing or what, you know, Joe does, or like you guys are way more regimented and consistent than I am.


But I think that being healthy and feeling good is one of the great benefits to a career is having energy and just being not sick.


Can we take a step back to sleep?


For sure. And so people should definitely look through your podcast.


The first five episodes were on sleep or.


No, I guess the first opening episode was the first one was sort of how the brain works generally is to give people some background. And then we did four episodes on sleep, including some stuff about food, temperature, exercise, jet lag, shift work for the jet lag folks, and shift work.


Yes, like a master class on sleep. And then you're going on to a next topic in the next few episodes.


It's just incredible neuroplasticity. We'll talk about it. But on sleep, one of the cool things about the human mind when it sleeps is dreaming. What do you think we understand about the contents of dreams like wooder dreams mean all the stuff we see when we dream.


Is there something that we understand about the contents of dreams? Some of it is very concrete.


So Matt Wilson, who MIT I showed in Rodent's and it's been shown in non-human primates and now it's been shown in humans that there is replay of spatial information during sleep.


So initially what Matt showed was that as these little rodents navigate through a maze there, the cells in the hippocampus called place cells that fire when the animal encounters a turn or a corridor. And that same exact same sequence is replayed during sleep. And it turns out this is true in London. Taxi cab drivers before phones and GPS were what they are today. The London taxi cab drivers were famous for knowing the routes through the city, through these mental maps.


And there have been analysis of their place, cell firing during sleep and during wakefulness. And so we are essentially taking spatial information about the location of things and replaying it during sleep. However, it's not replayed so that you remember at all. It's replayed so that if there's a reason to remember it, the links to the emotional system, to the components of the limbic system in hypothalamus that are relevant, like you got into a car crash in a particular location or you lost a bunch of money because you were a cab driver, Uber driver, we'd say nowadays.


And you are stuck at one particular avenue all day and frustrated and you're getting yelled at by your spouse. That information gets encoded so that you never forget that at that particular time of day and that particular time of year and this thing happened. So context starts getting linked to experience. So their spatial information that's absolutely replayed during sleep and we experience this sometimes as dreams, the dreams that happen early in the night when slow wave sleep or non REM sleep dominates, tends to be sleep, a very kind of general themes and kind of location.


It's can feel a little bit eerie and kind of strange. Not so incidentally, the early phase of the night is when growth hormone is released. In the 80s and 90s, there was a drug that was very popular. It's very illegal now called GHB. You could actually buy it at GNC or stores. And I never took it, but it was a popular party drug. And some people, some famous celebrities died while on GHB. They were also on a bunch of other things.


So it's not clear what killed them. But GHB was very big in certain communities because it promoted a massive release of growth hormone and gave people these very hypnotic state. So people go to clubs and they were in these very hypnotic states.


It was part of a whole culture that's early night and those dreams tend to not have a lot of emotional content or load. That phase of dreaming is associated with the occasional jolting yourself out of sleep because it's somewhat lighter sleep. The the dreams that occur during REM, during rapid eye movement, sleep in that dominate towards morning are very different. They tend to have very little epinephrine is available in the brain at that time. Epinephrine again being this molecule, stress, fear and excitement.


You are paralyzed during these REM dreams. You cannot move. There's intense emotion at the level of what you're feeling and there's so-called theory of mind.


Theory of Mind is an idea that was put forward by Simon Baron Cohen, Sacha Baron Cohen's cousin. I think on the podcast I mistakenly said that he was at Oxford. It's like the cardinal sin. He's at Cambridge.


Forgive me, I'm not British, but so the dreams and REM have are heavily emotionally laden. And it's very clear that those dreams and REM sleep, if you deprive yourself of them for too long, you become irritable and you start linking generally negative emotions to almost everything. REM The dreams that occur in REM sleep are when we divorce emotion from our prior experiences, and it's when we extract general rules and themes. Mitt seems to come up a lot today, but it's it's highly relevant.


Susumu Tonegawa, Nobel Prize for Immunoglobulin, but obviously fantastic neuroscientists as well, has shown that the replay of neurons in the hippocampus and elsewhere in the brain is kind of an approximation of the previous episode. And a lot of fear, unlearning of uncoupling emotion from hard or traumatic events that happened previously occurs in REM sleep. So you don't want to deprive yourself of REM sleep for too long. And those dreams tend to be very intense. Now epinephrine is low so that you can't suddenly act out your dreams.


But what's interesting is sometimes people will wake up suddenly while in a dream dream and their heart will be beating really, really fast. That's a surge of epinephrine that occurs as you exit REM sleep. So you were having this intense emotional experience without the fear. You were essentially going through therapy in your sleep, self-induced therapy. It's like trauma therapy where you try and divorce the emotion from the experience and then you wake up. And some people also have the other component of REM, which is a TONIO, which is paralysis.


Pot smokers experience this a lot more than non pot smokers. There's an invasion of paralysis into the waking state. I'm not a pot smoker, but I have experienced this. And when you wake up and you're paralyzed for a second, it's terrifying. But then you jolt yourself alert.


So the REM sleep is important for kind of the self-induced therapy and forgetting the bad stuff. It's good for uncoupling the emotions from bad experiences. And just there are two therapies, eye movement desensitization, reprocessing, which is an eye movement thing that shuts down the amygdala during therapy, not during sleep and ketamine, which is a dissociative analgesic. It's actually very similar to PCP. And ketamine is now being used as a trauma therapy. When someone comes into the E.R., for instance, and they were in a terrible car.


I mean, these are horrible things to describe. But, you know, they saw a relative impaled on the driving steering column or something, and they will give this drug to try and shut off the emotion system so that because they're not going to forget let's be honest, you don't forget the bad stuff, but it is possible to uncouple the bad events from the emotional system. And there's all sorts of ethical issues about whether or not that's good or bad to do.


But PTSD is a failure to uncouple the emotion from these intense experiences.


So the goal of this kind of therapy is in the uncoupling for that to be permanent to to to separate so they can recount the event and they can describe it without it triggering the same somatic experience of terror and dread.


Because terror those. Feelings can be debilitating, obviously, physiologically in REM sleep. Similar processes happen.


That's right, that thematically REM sleep is about experiencing or replaying intense emotions without experience. The somatic the physical component of the emotion, either the acting out or the accelerated heart rate and agitation. Likewise with things like ketamine therapies, that's the idea. You're uncoupling the physical sensation from the mental events.


What is REM sleep and why is it so special?


Maybe you can comment on that rapid eye movement sleep yet discovered in the 50s at University of Chicago, its intense brain activity, high levels of metabolic activity, dreams in which people report a lot of the theory of mind. We were talking about Simon Baron Cohen. Theory of mind is was actually something that he developed for the diagnosis of autism. If you take kids, most kids of age five, six, seven put them in front of a TV screen in the laboratory and you have them watch a video where a kid is playing with a ball or a doll, and then the kid puts it into a drawer, shuts the door and walks away.


And another kid comes in and you ask the child who's observing this little movie, you say, what is this second child think? And they a typical kid would say they want to play and they don't know where the ball or doll is or they they they're upset or they're sad. They want the doll. Autistic children tend to say the dolls in the drawer, the toys in the drawer. They tend to fixate. They can't get in on the event.


They can't get into the mind of that. They don't have a theory of mind. Dreams and REM have a heavy theory of mind component. People are after me trying to get me. You can assign motive to other people, I'm afraid, but it's because there's an expectation that doesn't tend to happen in slow wave sleep dreams. Now, all this, of course, is by waking people up and asking them what they were dreaming about, which from a standpoint of an A.I. guy or machine learning or neuroscientists kind of like.


But it's the best we've got. But brain imaging.


Well, in waking states, while people view a movie and then brain imaging while people are sleeping, supports the idea that that's basically what's going on.


So REM sleep is amazing and you're not going to get much of it during your bout with so gorgons, but you will afterward.


Why so to comment. Why won't I? So is it not possible to get into it real quick? Only if you're very, very sleep deprived, but because you're going to be at high muscular output, that's going to bias you towards more slow wave sleep overall. And your body and brain are smart. They it will know they will know that your main goal is to recover. So you can keep going, so you can keep firing neuromuscular contractions and you can keep running so that you can I mean, it's amazing to think like, why do we ever stop the unlike weight training where I can't do a 500 pound dead lift, I just can't like a train for it.


But I certainly can't do a six hundred pound. I can't do that. What causes us to stop an endurance event is usually not a physical barrier. It's almost always a purely mental barrier. And that's a very interesting problem. I mean, neuroscientists don't tend to think about those sorts of problems because it sounds so non neuroscientific. But that's fundamentally related to the question of what is pursuit, why?


What is the the desire to push and to and to carry on?


Is there a neuroscientific answer for that question, you think? I think the closest thing is this paper from from Janelia Farm is the Howard Hughes campus showing that if you put animals into a simulated environment where you can measure their effort, the forces on while they're running and you can look at them and you can control the visual environment and you can create a scenario where the animal thinks that its output is futile, it thinks it knows it's running and it's actually running.


But you change the frequency of the stripes going by in their visual world such that they think they're not getting anywhere and eventually they quit. And the thing that determines whether or not they quit is a threshold level of epinephrine in the brainstem. If you drop that level back down or you or you give the animals dopamine, essentially they keep going. If you take dopamine down, they they're like this isn't worth its helplessness.


They're just this isn't worth my time and energy.


Well, this is where the difference between humans and non-human animals is interesting because it does feel like humans have an extra level of cognitive ability that might be relevant here.


Well, you can pull from different time references. So you're in that moment, you're going to need a kit of things to roll from. So you can think this is in honor of someone else that passed away and you will find a gas reserve. That's amazing.


Right now, whether or not mice are like, I remember my brother back in the other cage when I was a little mouse, you know, we don't know. But it's very likely that they don't do that, that they're so present there in the experience of there and then and now that they aren't able to extract from the past and they're not able to project into the future like how great it's going to feel when I get to the end of this really lame V.R. corridor.


I don't think they think about that and think about like if I quit now, how will that have what kind of effect will have on the rest of my life in the future? Difficult times, like if you allow yourself to quit in this particular moment, you'll become a quitter more and more in life, and then you're going to not get the other nice the opposite sex mammals. That's pretty severe.


You went it all. You just get the whole way to evolution and back again. I mean, but that's that's really it. I mean, our ability to time reference in the past, present or future, I do believe that we can be in the present in the past or the present in the future or only in the present or only in the future, only in the past. But I don't think that we can really think about past, present and future all at once.


And this has a similarity to covert attention. Like we can split our visual attention into two things. We really can do a task even though we can't multitask or we can bring those two spotlights of attention to the same location.


But it's very hard to split our attention and really well into three domains excuse me, into three domains.


I think that that's very, very challenging. And time our time referencing scheme tends to be just one or two time references. So Lisa Feldman, Barrett, I'm not sure if you've done work together, but at least I found out about her because of you on your podcast with her.


And I brought her on to Instagram, did an Instagram live about emotion? And it was fascinating. And she is a very spirited and very, very smart woman and fearless and brilliant.


So I love her. She's amazing. She kind of she's not a scholar of hallucinogens, hallucinogens or dreams, but she had this intuition that there may be a connection between the kind of dissociation that happens and dreaming. And that happens in like psychedelics. I because of my previous conversation with you. On this podcast, Matthew Josa from Johns Hopkins reached out and you said, but he he commented, I think, on something that we commented, I don't even remember exactly what, but that there's not many studies.


It's not being psychedelics and not being rigorously studied in an academic setting, like with the full rigor of science. And he said, well, actually, that's exactly what we're doing. And they're extremely well funded now. And it has been a long battle to get it accepted as a serious scientific pursuit. So but I'd like to ask you a little bit about that. Do you have a sense about connection between dreams and psychedelics or these different explorations of mind states that are outside of the standard normal one?


That's the wake mindset. Yeah, I loved your discussion with Matthew.


I knew of the Hopkins Group and the stuff they were doing, but I didn't know much about it at all. And I learned a ton from that podcast. I reached out to him just to say I love what you're doing. I think it's incredible. So, yeah, your podcast has been a great source of serious academic and intellectual conversation for me. I think what they're doing at Hopkins is amazing. He has a collaborator there actually that had a very popular paper I just throw out there for fun, who is a postdoc at Stanford.


My name is Goul. She's Turkish, I believe. And her and I, I apologize. Her last name escapes me at the moment, but that's just a function of my brain.


She had a paper showing that she put octopi on MDMA, on ecstasy and found out this is published in a in current biology show. It was a great journal showing that the Octopi then wanted to spend more time with other octopi. They started cuddling so their colleagues out there. But the Hopkins project is super interesting because I think they were initially supported mainly through private philanthropy. And now you're starting to see some more interest at the level of NIH about psychedelics.


It's a complicated space because the psychedelics are always looked at through the lens of the 60s and people losing their mind. And there's a you know, in I always say, you know, you don't want to Ken Kesey out of the game. You know, Ken Kesey was amazing, right? Part of the whole Beat Generation thing. And he was actually at the VA near Stanford. That's where he eventually in Menlo Park, he wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, or maybe that was about him.


Anyway, the comments will tell me how wrong I am.


But I think I'm tossing these words in the general in the right general direction. But. You know, Huxley, Kizzie, they did a lot of LSD and they all lost their jobs, right?


They lost their jobs at big institutions like Harvard and Stanford and elsewhere, or they left because they they made themselves the experiments. Yes. Hopkins, as far as I know, is one of the first places is not the first place where whatever Matt may or may not be doing in his own life, I don't know. It's really about the patients and whether or not the patients in these Institutional Review Board approved studies, whether or not they're getting better in situations like depression, I think.


It's clear that there's a very close relationship between hallucinogenic states and dreaming of the sort that would describe for REM dreaming. And there's a terrific set of books and body of scientific literature from a guy named Alan Hobson, who is an M.D. at Harvard Med, and he wrote books like Dream Drug Store. One of the first neuroscience books I ever read was about hallucinations and how psychedelics and dreaming are very similar. That was way back when I was in high school.


I was just curious and he really understood the relationship between LSD and REM dreams and how similar they are.


I think psychedelics and Matt knows way more about this than I do, of course. But psychedelics have some very interesting properties. They are certainly not for everybody.


Right. And kids, it's a problem. You know, I think the major issues right now around the psychedelic conversation is that it's clear that they can unveil certain elements of neuroplasticity.


They make the brain amenable to change, changing up space time relationships, changing up the emotional load of an event and being able to reframe that. It's clear that happens. But there's two major issues.


One is that people talk about plasticity as if plasticity is the goal. But plasticity is a state within which you can direct neurology. And the question is, what changes are you trying to get to?


So people are just taking psychedelics to unveil plasticity without thinking about what circuits they want to modify and how. I think that's a problem. I think there's great potential, however, for people opening up these states of plasticity with psychedelics or otherwise and directing the plastic changes toward a particular endpoint. And there's an absolutely spectacular paper out of UC Davis published as a full article in Nature just a couple of months ago, showing that there are psychedelics that are now can be modified.


So chemists have gotten into the game now and modified to take away the hallucinogenic component where you still get the neuroplasticity components. And for a lot of people would be like, oh, that's no fun. That's not giving you the wild experience. But I do think that that holds great potential for people that wouldn't otherwise orient towards some of these drugs. So I think it's really marvelous what's happening and what's about to happen. And I think there there is one drug in that kit of drugs that's very unusual, like psilocybin, LSD, those promote heavy, heavy serotonin release and collateralize connections, ramp up, et cetera.


Matt talked about all that, but MDMA, ecstasy. Is a very unusual situation where dopamine is very, very high because of the the way the drug is designed dopamine release, it goes through the roof so people feel great and they want to move and they have a lot of energy. But serotonin levels are also high and that's a very unnatural state. And why MDMA may, may and I want to highlight may have particularly high potential for the treatment of certain forms of depression is an interesting question, because never before in as far as we know in human history has there been a possibility of opening up dopaminergic and serotonergic states at the same time, dopamine being the molecule, pursuit and reward and more and more and serotonin being one of bliss and being content right where you're at.


So it's almost like those two things rap back on themselves and create this very unusual state. And I think the bigger conversation is what to do with a state like that. Like, do you? Is it about self-love? Is it about developing love for another person? Is it about forgetting hate? These are powerful molecules. And I think if the academic community and the clinical community is going to move forward with them in any serious way, I think there needs to be a conversation about what they're being used for.




And coupled with that, I think similar to what you're saying, I like Matt has talked about, as others have talked about, some of the biggest benefits of progress, whether it's like quitting smoking and all those kind of stuff is in is in the days after the integration of the experience. So maybe you open up the brain to the neuroplasticity, but then there's like work to be done.


It's not you're like you shake up something in the biology of the brain, but you have to do then it's work. Absolutely no friend of mine who's a physician, he says, who's quite open to this idea that psychedelics could play a real role in in real medicine, says a better living through chemistry still requires better living. And I think it's a beautiful statement. I wish I had said it be. But he gets the credit, but the plasticity window opens.


And then, as you said, what are you going to do in the two weeks, three weeks, four weeks afterward? Because that's the real opportunity. But those psychedelic experiences are really a case of an amplified experience inside of an amplified experience. So much so that everything seems relevant. And it's it's it's fascinating. I mean, my hope is that the AI and machine learning and the brain machine interface and all that will eventually be merged with the psychedelic treatments so that you, an individual, can go in, take whatever amount of whatever safe for them working with a clinician and really direct the plasticity while maybe stimulating the orbitofrontal medium of our frontal cortex or increasing the observer or decreasing the observer in the brain or decreasing the amygdala.


I mean, it's doable. It's doable with transcranial magnetic stimulation and it's for shutting down activity and it's doable with ultrasound. Ultrasound now allows very focal activation of particular brain regions through the skull.


Noninvasively it's approaching the same kind of therapy from different angles as the computational size of injecting, like the robotic injecting, like maybe you can even think about as like electricity, the electrical approach versus then like the the chemical.


Absolutely. And then the cycle and then the psychology is is subjective. Right. So it's going to take some real understanding of what that person's lexicon is like.


You know, there wasn't a pun, so I thought terrible like the worst. That's the one thing I know from the feedback on my podcast.


My jokes are terrible, but I never claimed to be funny. The the but somebody who they really trust and understands when somebody says, you know, for a very stoic person like I'm imagining you interviewed the great Dan Gable. Right. I don't know anything about Dan, but can you imagine, like you ask Dan, like, you know how you feel about something while on one of these drugs?


And like, I mean, his languaging might if he says that was troubling, it might mean that it was very troubling or not troubling at all.


So people are languages, a poor guide, because if I say I'm upset, how upset is that? Well, that's very subjective. So you need we need can you build a tool for that and build a tool for that?


The idea? Yeah, well, maybe that's maybe that's our that's what the eyes could reveal.


So language is not just words, it's everything together. And that's one of the fascinating things about the eyes and the window to the soul. I mean, they express so much the face, the eyes, the body. I mean, Lisa talks about that, the communication of emotions. It's a super complex. Perhaps it's a bit of a side fun tangent. But Matt, Matthew Johnson brings up DMT.


And the experience of GMT is as from a scientific perspective, just as just a mystery in itself over its intensity. What happens to the brain? And of course, Joe Rogan and others bring it up as a very different special kind of experience. And elves seem to come up often. I've never tried DMT.


What allows for hallucinogenic states, and it mean DMT is a really interesting molecule there. There are a lot of people experimenting now with DMT and they just the way they've described it is as a kind of a freight train through space and time, very different than the way people describe LSD type experiences or psilocybin, where time and space are very fluid. But it tends to be a kind of a slower roll, if you will.


So it's clear that DMT is tapping into a brain state that's distinctly different than the other psychedelics. And and you mentioned jiujitsu and these other communities.


I mean, it's I think it's interesting because jiujitsu is a non-verbal activity and people get together and talk about this nonverbal activity and they show great love for it. In the same way that surfers you know, I've known some surfers in my time and they will get up at the crack of dawn and drive really, really far to sit in the water and wait for this wave to come. I have to imagine it's pretty fantastic.


I think that human beings now. Some of whom are in the scientific community are starting to feel comfortable enough to talk about some of these other loves and other endeavors because they do reveal a certain component about our underlying neurology.


I'm fascinated by the concept of worthlessness activities in which language is just not sufficient to capture and in which feel so vital as a reset, as important as sleep. You know, I think that's one of the dangers of the phone, is not that you're going to get into some online battle or that you're always staring at the phone is that it's a words. As we read things, we're hearing the script in our head.


And I think getting into states where we are in a state of worthlessness is is very renewing and replenishing and just can feel amazing for and I believe also can help us tap into creative states and allow our neurology to access creative states.


And sleep is one such worthlessness period. So one of the most interesting things to me are states that one can approach in waking, non-slip, depressed worthlessness through. Maybe it's jujitsu, maybe it's for some people surfing, maybe it's dancing, maybe it's just staring at a wall, who knows?


But where the language components of the brain are completely shut down and it has to be the case that drugs are no drugs, that the brain is entering and starting to states and starting to use algorithms that are distinctly different than when we're trying to compose things in any kind of coherent way for someone else to understand. There's no interest in anyone else understanding what you're experiencing in that moment. And that's beautiful. And I think I think it's not just beautiful because it feels good.


I think it's beautiful because it's important and it's clearly fundamental to our neurology and your senses. There's a connection between dreams and dentin, like psychedelic, like all of the you can you can understand one by studying the other. So, for example, dreams are also very difficult to study. Right. But they're more accessible. It's safer to study. And we're told we need to get more of it. Whereas with psychedelics, there's this big question mark.


Is it going to make everyone crazy? Is it is it going to be legal? I mean, it's kind of interesting how if one looks on Instagram, one could almost think that these drugs are already legal based on the way that people commit, but they're not yet. There's still a lot of them are scared.


There's a lot of questions. I mean, and but nevertheless, it's like my my hope is that science opens up to these drugs a little bit more. It's just I have this intuition and like a lot of people share that they would be able to unlock a deeper understanding of our own mind.


It's any kind of the same as studying dreams.


Absolutely. Well, creativity is in the nonlinearities, right. But productivity is in the implementation of linearity. So, I mean, that's that's what is absolutely clear.


That's why I think we were talking earlier about why a formal, rigorous training in something where other people are looking at you and telling, you know, not good enough, go back and do it again. There's real value to that because otherwise it's just ideas. It's just vapors.


You know, one thing that Matt mentioned as the study that they're working on is as opposed to I think most of the psychedelic studies they've done, is on how to treat different conditions. And one of the things they're working on now is to try to do a study work for creatives, for people that don't have a condition to try to treat, but instead see how this how psychedelics can help you create.


So I couldn't if you take creative's and you give them more psychedelics, they're not going to be able to get out of there. Right. I don't know what, but this is the I maybe can speak to that psychedelics or not or dreams or tools in general, how to be better creators. That's an interesting I don't often see studies of this nature of like how to take high performance in the mental creative space and get them to perform even better. So it's not average people.


It's like masters of their craft, like taking I mean, his examples was taking an Elon Musk, which is in the engineering space, and maybe musicians and all that kind of stuff and studying that. That's a I mean, that's weird. Usually the science of the scientific exploration there has been done in by the musicians themselves, as has been documented, like jazz is like of nonlinearities.


Yeah, but it's but the people still have to know how to play their instruments. Right, right there. Some early, early skill building. That's critical. I mean, when you mention someone like Elon, I mean virtual. I mean, he's already a virtuoso, right. Because in so many different domains, I've never met him. But it's it's clear, right? He it's not just that he's ambitious and bold and brave and all that. It's all that and there's there's clearly a different way of looking at the same problems that everyone else is looking at and people are probably banging their head against the refrigerator thing like think differently things.


It doesn't work that way. It involved there's a certain anxiety in for the I'm not talking about for Elon, but I don't have no idea. But I think for somebody who's very structured, very regimented, very linear, the anxiety comes from letting go of those linearity. And for the person that's very creative, the anxiety comes from trying to impose linearity. Right. The really creative artist or musician there, they seem nuts. They seem like they can't get their life together because they can't.


And, you know, we look at people who are kind of pseudo Aspergers or Asperger's or some forms of autism, and they are so hyper linear. But you take away those linearity and they freak out.


And that's kind of the essence of some of those syndromes. So I think that the ability to toggle back and forth between those states is what's remarkable. I mean, because we're here and we're having this discussion. I mean, Steve Jobs is a good example. He probably the best example, somebody who actually talked about his own process, about the merging of art and science, art and engineering, humanities and science. Very few people can do that. Well, you seem to have a capacity to do that.


I like, you know, poetry and you are a guy like you.


There's nothing linear about poetry, as far as I can tell.


I mean, I do wonder, just like or been talking about if there's any ways to push that to its limits to explore further. I don't like leaning this. This is why I'm bothered. There's not more science. Psychedelics is I haven't done almost. So I've eaten mushrooms a few times allegedly. But that's it, you know.


And the reason I don't do more. The reason I haven't done DMT is because it's illegal and it's like not well studied. And it you know, I'm in those things.


I'm not usually at the cutting edge, but I'm very curious and it feels like there could be tools to be discovered. They're not for fun, not for recreation, but for like encouraging whether you're a linear thinker to go non-linear or it's non-linear to go linear.


They tend to shake things up. You mentioned Dan Gable. The idea of Dan Gable psychedelics is fascinating to me because he's such a control freak.


I mean, he thought I would show up for that or not show up. But like so much of these sexual experiences, it feels like is letting go. That's right. You don't want to resist, but that's supposedly where the growth is in in giving oneself over to the process. And that's for people who are like master controllers. He's one of the greatest co-chairs of all time. It's fascinating to see what that battle looks like of resistance and then of letting go.


Yeah, I can't wait to to see where these studies takes us when it's clearly happening.


You know, I've asked there I have a couple of colleagues at Stanford who are doing animal studies. I've asked around, you know, it's there's a lot of discussion in the neuroscience community about what the perception of a laboratory is if they work on psychedelics. I mean, I have to tip my hat to the folks at Hopkins. They are pioneers. And as Tersigni Wolski, he's a computational neuroscientist down at success, I don't think he was the first person to say this as a you know, how to spot the pioneers.


They're the ones with the arrows in their backs. Yeah.


And, you know, it's it's an unkind world to a scientist that's trying to do really cutting edge stuff. My colleague David Spigel studies medical hypnosis. It's he's got dozens of studies now showing that hypnosis can be beneficial for pain management, anxiety management, cancer outcomes. And it's finally, you know, at the point where there's so much data. But people here, hypnosis, and they think of stage hypnosis, which is like the furthest thing from what he doing.


And I think mind body type stuff, hypnosis, respiration and breathing. I think the hard science walk into the problem is always going to be best to get the community on board. And then it's up to people like that and to really take it to the next level. And as I say, not kizzie out of the game because Kizzie basically was taken too much of his own stuff and he started dressing crazy of banana hats. And like you said, he had the magic bus.


So, you know, the next day I start driving to work in the magic bus. That's the day I lose my job.


I'm not in the busses or wearing fruit. But you're going to get a phone call from me, and I hope you do the same for me.


It's like like, dude, what are you doing? Well, what's interesting earlier, we're talking about the challenge with David that you're about to do. I mean, that is a psychedelic experience of sorts because you're biasing your mind towards a pretty extreme neurochemical state and you don't know what you're going to find there. And that's kind of the excitement, at least for me, isn't a. Observer, it's like I want to know what what the experience is like afterward, I want to know, like, how was it?


I mean, I'm sure you're going to get something like you said, you're going to grow. The question is how and not resisting.


I mean, it's the same as with a psychedelic experience. It's like not like giving yourself over completely to the experience and not resisting and going through the whole mental journey of whether it's anger or excitement or exhaustion, the whole thing.


That's I mean, that's the entirety of the process that David goes through when he does his own challenges and so on. Is that whole journey he finds purpose.


The like missiles seeks the limits of the mind that whenever the resistance is felt, runs up against it, and then goes to the full journey of going beyond it and seeing what's there on the other side.


Well, stress has these two sides, the limbic friction of being tired and needing to get more energized. That's one form of stress. And then there's the feeling, too amped up and needing to calm down. The typical discussion around stress is one thing, but it's all limbic friction. It's just that when I say limbic freshie, that's not a real scientific term. I just mean the limbic system wanting to pull you down in a sleep or wanting to put you into panic and you using top down processing, using that evolved forebrain to say, I'm not going to go to sleep and I'm not going to freak out.


And that was top down. Control mechanisms are I mean, when those get honed, that's beautiful, because then you you're increasing capacity for everything you are.


This month on the podcast, you're talking about neuroplasticity. You mentioned a bunch already.


Is there something you're looking forward to specifically like something maybe you're fascinated by that jumps to mind about neuroplasticity, this fascinating property of the brain?


Yeah, I think that it's clear there's one facet of neuroplasticity that is very well supported by the research data that hardly anyone has implemented in the real world. And that's the release of acetylcholine from these neurons in the forebrain called Nucleus Busmalis. This is mainly the work of Mike Merzenich, who used to be at UCSF and some of his scientific offspring. Greg reckons Owen and Michael Karlgaard and others.


What they showed was increases in acetylcholine, this molecule associated with focus in concert, meaning at the same time as some event motor event or music event or any kind of sensory event, immediately reorganizes the neocortex so that there's a permanent map representation of that event. And I, I absolutely believe that this can be channeled toward accelerated skill learning. And my friend and colleague Eddie Chang is now the chair of neurosurgery at UCSF, also a fine scientist in his own right, not just a clinician.


He's doing studies looking at rapid acquisition of language, using these principles. He trained with Merzenich. It's clear we have these gates on plasticity in the forebrain and they are guided by nicotinic acetylcholine transmission and why that hasn't made it into protocols for motor learning, sport, learning, language, learning, music, learning, emotional learning. I don't know. I think part of the reason has been kind of cultural is that scientists published their paper and they move on.


Merzenich talked a lot and still can be found from time to time talking about how these plasticity mechanisms can be leveraged. But he had a commercial company and so then people kind of backed away from it a little bit. I think he was, to be honest, I think Merzenich was ahead of his time. And I think the timing is right now for people to understand these mechanisms of plasticity and start to implement them. Also, you know, it all sounds like being coming superhuman or optimizing or whatever, all that.


Yes. But also what about kids with language learning deficits or with dyslexia or just performance in school in general? I have a deep interest and concern for the future of science and mathematics and in not just in this country, but all over the world. And more plasticity equals faster, better, deeper learning. And if we don't do this, I don't think we're going to get the full reach out of all the machine learning tools either, because everyone talks about these huge data sets and but those huge data sets have funnel into human interpretation.


I mean, we don't just, like, stare at the numbers and bask. Right. So some the human brain, I think, needs to leverage these plasticity mechanisms to keep up with the thing that's happening very, very fast, which is technology development. So that's a long winded way of saying basal forebrain cholinergic transmission and plasticity. It allows for plasticity, adulthood and allows for a single trial learning, which is incredible.


But how do we leverage that, like in the physical space taking actions, or is there some chemicals that can stimulate stimulate neuroplasticity? Like what?


It's the intersection of the two. I think it's being engaged in a physical practice while enhancing pharmacology, and it has to be done safely.


And this is full of open questions. This is very beginnings. Like like you're saying. Yeah, a pill that's safe, that increases nicotinic transmission. I mean, I know a number of people that chew Nicorette, actually. They have an IV, a Nobel Prize winning colleague at Columbia, not to be named, who choose like six pieces of Nicorette and a half hour conversation with him. And he started doing that as a replacement for smoking because smoking is nicotine, nicotine stimulation of the cholinergic system.


So smokers have long known that increases focus and attention and learning. It's just the lung cancer thing is a is a barrier. Now, I'm not suggesting people take Nicorette, but it's clear that we need better directed pharmacology. But you can imagine next time you go in for a learning bout, if it's really essential, you might want to stimulate the nicotinic system. If that's safe for you, get them a doctor. So, again, I'm not telling people to do this, but that's where it's going until we start merging machines with pharmacology and behavior.


It's it we're just kind of walking around in the circle over and over again and it's going to happen.


Do you find computer vision, machine learning from the perspective tooling as an interesting tool for. Analyzing for processing all the data from the neuroscience world, from the neurobiology, biology, all the different data sets that you can have about the mind, the eye, the of everything that's not going above and also the central nervous system.


No, absolutely. I think that computer science and engineering and chemistry bioengineering is that's what's creating the acceleration and progress in neuroscience right now. I think it's actually one place where science I'm very reassured sciences and invited in psychology is computational biologist, at least at Stanford, MIT and other places, too. Of course, it's clear that it's a everyone's invited kind of party right now, that the major issue in the field of neuroscience, at least through my view, is that there's no conceptual leadership.


No one is saying we need to work on and solve this problem or that problem. It's very fragmented right now. Now, the good news is people are communicating. So computer scientists and people who work on AI Machine Vision are talking to biologists and vice versa. But it's very dispersed.


Is there a lot of different data sets like in your work that you've just come across as a huge number of disparate data sets around neuroscience and so on, or.


Well, there's a lot of cell sequencing stuff, so the broad over it, you know, and on in Boston and then on this coast, the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, what you know, they did, you know, three billion dollars to sequence every cell type in humans and animals and try. And I think their goal is to cure every disease by some data. I don't know, in the in the future, huge data sets of gene expression and protein expression that's valuable.


I think no one really knows how to think about neural circuits. And what what is a neural circuit? Is it one structure, two structures communicating? I think this is where I actually think that the robotics is going to tell us how the brain works, because it it's tempting to think that the brain has all these cell types and circuits in order to solve specific problems. But it might be that the fundamental algorithm is to create cells and circuits that can solve variable problems.


We know in the retina, just a very simple example is that we've always heard about like cones or for color vision and high acuity and rods or for night vision and non color vision. But at the dusk dawn transition, certain cell types switch to do completely different, have a completely different function for viewing Starry Night versus what they do during the daytime. So neurons multiplex. And I think building machines that can multiplex and can evolve themselves is going to help us really understand what the brain is doing.


We need to tease out the fundamental algorithms we know there, like motion detection and spatial vision and things like that. I think machines are going to be much faster at that than our understanding of biology and how the brain does that. Basically, I'll be out of a job and people like you have a job. One of the I think the main idea is that there won't be a job that's machine learning or computer vision is just it's a tool that neuroscientists will use more and more and more and biologists would use.


I mean, this whole idea that it will just be a tool that allows you to start expanding the kind of things you can study.


Well, the next generation coming up. I can say this because I I'm blessed to have a bioengineering student. They think about problems so differently than biologists do.


We we realized the other day we both came up with a set of ideas around a certain project and we realized that her version of it was the exact opposite of mine and hers was far, far more rational.


It's just an engineering perspective. It's like, why would we do that last? We should do that first. I think that that the next generation is really interested in solving practical problems. It's a lot like computer science and engineering was in the late 90s was like you can go to a Ph.D. in computer science, engineering maybe, or you go work for a company and actually build stuff that's useful. I think neuroscientists and people interested in neuroscience are starting to think, how can I build stuff that's useful?


And this is statement is supported by the fact that many people in my business leave their academic labs, fortunately not all of them, but they leave their academic labs and they go work for companies like Neural Link, like neural link. This is something I think we've spoken a few times offline about. As speaking of computer vision, I'm fascinated by the I did a bunch of work on the I saw from there is the neuroscientist, there's a neurobiology, we're studying the eye and there's the computer vision.


We're studying the eye and the computer vision. We're studying the eye of just observing noncontact sensing of humans is really fascinating to me in studying human behavior in different contexts like in semi-autonomous vehicles. It seem like there is a lot of signal that comes from the eye, that comes from blinking that's not fully understood yet, has been in the lab. It's been used quite a bit to study like the dilation of people. All those kinds of things are used to to infer workload, cognitive load, all those kinds of things.


But the picture is murky. It's not completely well understood, especially in the wild, how much signal you can get from the eye, from the human face.


I've downloaded Jurgen's all of the podcast. He's ever done video. You have the YouTube bank, I have the YouTube bank for for a reason that this was before he went to Spotify.


If you own the archive, there's PubMed and then there's still Rogan experience owned by or maintained by private from my private collection. Now, the reason I did it and I did a really rigorous processing of it, which is like the I extracted all of the faces. I did a really good blink track of the people tracking in the blink detection for the entirety, I should say, is from episode like.


I forget what it is, but episode nine hundred, when they switch to 10 video, but it was like much crap, your video is still analog when there was marijuana consumption or whether there's smoke.


I mean this. So something that's going to like just it won't throw off the data, but it's relevant to the Australian data. So let's just put it this way.


There's a lot of fascinating computer vision problems involved, but I only kept long sequences of data or the eyes detect the exceptionally well. And I also removed people that were wearing glasses. I removed. There's certain people that have a way of moving their eyes and squinting where it's harder to infer, like concrete blinks. You know, they'll kind of have a squint the whole time and their blink is very light.


It's very tough to know what's what's an actual blink.


So when you got those baseball cap wearing guys, like, yeah, there are certain people that go on podcasts and wear baseball caps and don't reveal their I don't know if they realize it or not until it comes out, but their face is completely obscured from vision and from a computer vision perspective.


People that wear makeup and usually women on their eyes is complicated. Things like eyelashes all complicate things. So, you know, you can clean stuff up just so you have really crisp signal. You don't have to. You can you can deal with issues. But, you know, there's so many hours that you are going to be there anyway.


I say all that because I was searching for an interesting personal experiment for me because I saw in drivers when I was looking at eye movement and drivers, it seemed to indicate there seemed to be quite a lot of signal there that indicates amount of cognitive load, but it's not clear if there's something conclusive.


But if there is some signal, that's a really powerful one, because I movement can be detected in the wild. Like you and I are sitting here, I can detect I'm a really well pupil. Dilation is a really crappy indicator and it's luminance dependent. Like I turn toward a light.


It's it's a it people change sides depending on level of alertness or autonomic arousal, but also overall levels of luminance.


It's very, very hard.


But there are I mean, you're sitting on a on a gold mine because, see, there is a lot of interest right now in measuring state through noncontact sensing. Yes. Heart rate variability through changes in skin tone, just off a camera. Can you imagine that at the point where you just look at some video and you're like, oh, they're they're getting more stressed or worked up and they're not based on a heat map of some little patch on their face because everyone's going to have this, you know, sort of compartmentalize it slightly differently.


But you can learn it pretty quickly. We know this when someone's like giving a talk and we see them starting at blotchy on their on their neck. You know, this is the like the thesis defense response. Right. We know it. And it's a stressful situation because of not passing your thesis. Defense is rough and we can see that. But cameras can pick that up really easily at much lower levels than the blatant blocking kind of effect. And eye movements certainly are powerful indications of the state of the autonomic system.


So what do you think? There are things from a high level that you can pick up from eye movements and blinking?


Well, blink frequency is going to increase as people get tired. Right? I've actually been teased a lot online because I don't blink much when I'll do a post, then I.


And so I did a whole post about blinking, about signs of blinking. There's some data, very strong data, not from my lab that show that every time you blink, it results your perception of time. They have people do these kind of track a kind of a Doppler like thing in any way blinking resets your perception of time.


If there's a dopaminergic mechanism in a in the blink related circuitry of the brain, when people are very alert, they tend to not blink very much.


When we're sleepy, we tend to blink more and our eyes tend to close. Now, some people are more hooded than the way their eyes sit, and some people are like this all the time. There are some very famous people. I'm not going to name them because I might run into them at some point who are like accused of being sociopaths because they don't blink very often, but they might just have high levels of autonomic arousal. They just don't blink very much.


Also depends on how lubricated the eyes are.


So I think within individual, yes, you can get a lot of information. I don't think we can say this person's blinking a lot. They're lying, this person or they're tired. This person doesn't blink. They're they're stressed. I think if you understand that person's baseline, you can get it. And presumably we'll having been on the Joe Rogan experience, I can say when you first sit down there, if you've never been in there before, you're my dad.


Is that better for my.


Well, I bet you I will admit to being, you know, first time sitting down there. I mean, Joe is incredibly. Gracious make me feel very comfortable there, but it's a it's an intense experience, it's a small space to any time you enter a small space from a big space in his old studio that you're familiar with, there's a breaking in period.


We're getting to know somebody. And so I'm sure my levels of autonomic arousal front of the podcast were higher than later. So but once you have a baseline established, you can get a lot of data on somebody simply from blinks. Some people averting gaze, too. If you have both people, that's really powerful. This is the holy grail of another holy grail of neuroscience. We've mainly looked at subjects in isolation. There hasn't been much brain imaging of two people in interacting or even in animal models of two mice or two monkeys interacting.


It's all like person scanner, bite bar. I mean, if you've ever been in one of these scary like in a bite bar is very medieval.


And you think in the interaction there's actually you can almost study them as a single brain or as a single system. The two brains are a single system.


I think they are highly correlated. Yeah, maybe are you're triggering my blinks, you know, or your non blink epoxide, you know, extending my non blink epochs.


There's a fascinating space to explore there and no one's done it. And because everyone let the Joe Rogan experience archive disappear except for you, you grab, well, any comments, too, because I think the comments were almost as entertaining as the conversation.


You know, he's just made me realize what the coupling is. I have a better data set, the Joe Rogan podcast with high resolution video, which is the raw video for this podcast. So, for example, both cameras are now recording.


You and I force full feed. The final result will switch cameras back and forth. But I have the full feed, right. So I can have the blinking for both you and I the whole time.


I bet you people trigger blinks and in one another, you know, and there's also like the simplest way to think about the blinks and the attentional thing and the alertness to fighters in the in the standoff. There's this whole law around who blinks first. Yeah, it's like they blink first. Well, what are what are we really asking?


They're asking whether or not one person can maintain focus longer than the other person, which. Is an important parameter, is not the only parameter, but it's an important parameter, and so that blinking contest, even though they don't square off as a blinking contest, it's well known that the first to blink is revealing something about their capacity to hold attention. You started an amazing podcast to mention a few times, people should definitely check it out. It's called the Human Labbe Podcast.


It it does your it's basically it embodies the personality of Andrew Huberman, which is like make science accessible, but also fascinating and giving it, like, would you call it, you give tools for everyday life, meaning it kind of grounds it like, what the hell does this mean for my life? But then also does the beauty of science at the same time. So I love I love both the rigor and the openness of the whole thing, plus the whole correction's things you mentioned anyway.


What's been the hardest part of this whole process?


You're one of already one of the only and one of the best science podcasters out there. So in that process, what's been the hardest what's been the most exciting part?


Well well, first of all, thanks for the kind words about the podcast. It was inspired by you and I. Absolutely. It's that's NEBs I the last time we met to do an interview for your podcast. We talked a little bit about it, and you gave me the subtle nudge that maybe there was a there was a podcast there. And I thought about it and I laughed and I was just like, I got to do this thing. And you really gave me the encouragement to do it.


And your podcast, this podcast is really forged the way you've been tip of the spear on serious scientific, intellectual, yet fun, accessible conversation. And so I as your colleague and friend and but just even if those things weren't true like this, this podcast was and is the inspiration, there's no question so much. Yeah, I really like 100 percent.


And when I decide to do the podcast, the Human Life podcast, I thought really long and hard about what would work best and would be most beneficial turned out to be the hardest thing, which is to stay on a single topic for three or four more episodes before switching to a new topic.


Because I know from the experience of university and teaching in university, as you know as well, that. There's always the temptation to pivot to something else, but the drilling into something really deeply is where the where the gems reside. And the the challenge has been how to make it interesting, how to keep people on board, how to give people tools along the way, but also stay close to the scientific data. I like to think that we're headed in the right direction.


It still needs to evolve. But that's been a challenge, I think. I also am challenged by the fact that there's a tremendous range of backgrounds of listeners, so some people have asked for more names like more bits and parts of the nervous system and cellular molecular mechanisms and all that kind of thing. And other people said, I don't understand any of that stuff, but I think I'm keeping up. And so unlike a university course where there are prerequisites and ones coming to the table with more or less the same knowledge, I have a very limited sense of what the audience knows and doesn't know.


So that's why I incorporated the feature of the comment section on YouTube being a source of feedback. And I do a kind of an office hours like episode every third or fourth episode where I address common questions. And I think that the podcast space, in my mind, at least for the sort of podcast I'm doing, needed a venue for the listeners to be a more integral part of the experience as opposed to just commenting on what they liked or didn't like.


So while I like to hear what people liked and didn't like, I also really like to hear about, hey, tell me more about temperature minimums and how they can be used to face off circadian rhythms or whatever it is.


And I realize that I'm probably losing some people along the way, but hopefully at the end of each month and because of the way that the episodes are archived, people will come away feeling as if they've learned a ton and they have tools that they can implement, and perhaps most importantly, that they're starting to think scientifically about the tons of other stuff that's out there. So that's been the challenge and it's still really early days. But and of course, there's also an intentional challenge.


I realize that people are busy. Not everyone has two hours to listen to a podcast about jet lag and shift work and raising kids and sleep and that kind of thing. I'm not raising kids by the whole thing about babies and sleep with, you know, and how parents can manage their sleep when kids aren't sleeping.


So it's been I'm hacking through the jungle of all this stuff, but and I'll come right back to it. My inspiration and my my my North Star on this is. Getting to a point where the audience that listens to this feels the same way that I do when I listen to your podcast, so much like when I turn into your podcast, I'm going to embarrass you a little bit more by complimenting you a little bit more, but not out of a sadistic thing.


But just because when I tune into your podcasts or Joe's podcast, I have the same sensation that other people have. Like I feel like I'm home of sorts. I'm like, I'm familiar with the space and I'd like people to feel comfortable in the space. That is the humor in lab podcast, whatever that ends up being. Yeah, that's the magic of podcasting. It's like I feel like I'm part of your life now in a way that as a fan that I wouldn't be otherwise.


And, you know, like I never was able to have that with Carl Sagan, for example, you know, and that's a whole nother level of connection with a human being that gets you excited. And then I share your excitement about different topics in neuroscience or just biology in general. And then I don't have to actually understand everything you're saying to to really enjoy it. So that that's the magic of podcasting is like you can go through like ten minutes and understanding what the hell a person is saying and then you enjoy the excitement and then you reconnect to a thing that you do understand what they're saying.


And, you know, that's that personal coupled with the scientific rigor is magic and finding the right it's exploration. Like Joe found something that works for comedians, which is like, you know, having a good laugh, but also every once in a while talking seriously about difficult topics, the scientific space. It was unclear. I mean, you haven't had guests on yet, but maybe you'll come on as a that's that's going to invite me.


I was going to try to follow out. I am I'm officially inviting you now. Will you come on the podcast, as Melissa suggested?


But it was it was hard. It's still a little bit difficult to tell people. That you don't get it? We're not going to talk for ten minutes, we're going to talk for three or four hours. It's a different for scientists like Doug.


What I don't what are we going to talk about? They think it's like the NPR interview. Yes. And they don't realize. First of all, I think it is best if you're like at the level of Joe Rogan, who I think is an excellent conversationalist, it you just lose track of time. It can be three, four or five hours and you lose track of time. I'm still not there. I find that it's still painful. Like the conversation is still challenging.


Sometimes you don't lose quite as much of track of time. It's still an intellectual effort. And I think it might always be as it would be with you because you're talking about difficult topics maybe that require more brain. You're not just shooting the shit with, like a Brian Reed band or somebody like comedians or just joking. It's like, remember those shows like where those shows where someone would come out and like spin plates and they're running back and forth.


And really good scientific discussion is like that. You have to be maintaining three or four different logical arguments and jumping back and forth. It's occasionally getting to like a real streak of linearity. But as we found today, that typically there's three or four different things that we're bouncing back and forth. And that requires a lot of updating of these, you know, for brain circuits. It's not it's not a passive listening experience. But I like to think that the brain likes that.


I do want to ask just because we were all I don't want to forget the the question came up to me is your podcast has the same kind of regret that I think like a Dan Carlin podcast has a history podcast or. That's a definitely a compliment. Thank you. Dan's way. You know, he's something for me to aspire to. He goes through hell to prepare. He spends months preparing. It feels like you've had to really prepare for your podcast.


I definitely prepare hard. How are you? OK.


Yeah. I mean, how much effort does I take? It feels like a conference presentation. Yeah.


So we record once a week and in the intervening time I listen to. Many university level lectures, so NIH has a bank of lectures, I have some sources of recorded university seminars, I'm trying to find the the points of intersection. So like for four episodes on sleep, it's not like I'm going to just regurgitate a popular book or take one lecture and just, you know, post the content. I'm going to find the overlap in the different elements.


I also see what I'll do is I'll generally read 10 or 15 papers. And generally those are good reviews, annual reviews and a review of neuroscience and a review of physiology, those kinds of things. I'll chase a few references. I'll listen to some YouTube videos, but of university level lectures and then I throw all that on a whiteboard. Usually while I work out in the morning, I'll just be working out. I have a gym in my house and I'll just put up all these random ideas.


I want to cover that dream a hallucination. And then I take that and I start to eliminate I draw lines between the common points of intersection. And then from that I, I distill out an outline and then I basically think about what I want to say on my walks with my dog, and I bother a couple of people and blab to them. So I would say each podcast I put in 10 to 15 hours at least of passive listening preparation and maybe five or six of active preparation.


So I do prepare quite a lot, but it has a certain reward component for me to come up at the end with something that's somewhat crystallized for me is just so satisfying. It feel like there's something about my dopamine circuits that just love that.


And the only pain is that a year later, after I've talked about the stuff a bunch of times, it's so much more succinct.


But that's life. You know, at some point you've got to pull the trigger.


Well, the I don't know what you think, but for me, YouTube is. That's why I'm sad that Joe left YouTube. There's a archival nature to YouTube that's kind of magical. And so I'm really glad you're now you you're doing a lot of educational content on Instagram before. But now I'm doing this podcasting and YouTube. It's like, you know, it's like Feynman lectures like, well, that's very I'm not saying every podcast, but there will be you will have some I can already tell there'll be some lectures which are like definitive, like really special ones.


That's the hope. And the there's some aspect that's archival to you to where at least I hope like 20 years from now, some kid is going to watch watch a lecture of yours. And, you know, it'll it'll create the next Nobel Prize. It'll create another, you know, a dream that then becomes a reality. And that that's that's a special thing that they YouTube provide. I'm really excited that you're on YouTube. And at the same time, I'm excited to see where this thing goes because.


It seems like change is the the cliched thing, that change is the only constant in these times because you're paving with this podcast, with this creativity what you were doing on Instagram as well.


You're paving the new era of what it means to do science. So actively doing research and actively explaining that research and new media.


It's very interesting to see a genuinely inspired by you.


We had this discussion last time after the podcast recording, and it was it's clear that communication of science cannot be left to the existing institutions. I'm talking about universities. I just mean that the science section of newspapers is sometimes there are some gems there, but generally it goes, you know, and I think you really have to know a field in order to extract the best things from that field. And my hope is that other practicing scientists and people finishing their PhD and postdoc and people who are running labs or working at companies will start to do this.


I mean, how amazing would it be, for instance, if if someone at Neural Link was giving us hints about not necessarily what they're developing? Because that's complicated for all sorts of reasons, but would talk to us about what the real challenges of building futuristic brain machine interface are like and what the what it means to understand a clinical problem and address it. I mean, I my hope is somebody there might eventually do that, that somebody in the world of chemistry or synthetic materials or whatever it is, will do this in a way that I could understand because I don't have expertize in those, I think it would be marvelous.


And your tip of the spear, you were out first. And I'm just happily trying to to move along in the direction I'm going. But I think the future of science education is online. And I think that's going to be scary to a lot of existing institutions, but it's not about disrupting anything, it's just about trying to do things better. Yeah, you know, some of the best.


Interviews, some of the best investigative journalism is done by people inside the field comes to mind a guy by the name of Elon Musk who who I love the possibility that he gets a Pulitzer for that interview.


But he grilled the crap out of the CEO of Robin Hood. I'm not sure. Follow on on the clubhouse the other night. Yeah, I saw you guys in there. I was kept out. I wasn't quick enough. My thumbs don't go fast enough. So I was and I wasn't about to sit in the waiting room. Have you tried that social network, by the way? The clubhouse. I've gone in there a few times and check some things out there.


I have a few questions about it that like I'm in there how one can participate or not participate. I, I like being a fly on the wall for those conversations. I've been very curious as to what's going on in there.


Oh, it's quite I mean, I have a lot of thoughts. I've maybe it's useful to comment. I also have a discourse server that, you know, has a few tens of thousands of people on it. And then they have also a voice chat capability. So these get togethers and I was using in in the spring and summer, like actively on those voice discussions, and it's anywhere from 10 to like a thousand people all together and voice like you.


Anyone can speak any time. Right. But there's this weird dynamic that people stay quiet. Only one person speaks at a time because they're all like respectfulness. The community of like like fundamentally respectful people, even though they're all anonymous. So like except like me and a few others, it's all anonymous people. So interesting. And it works. It's but the the magical thing to me about that community. How intimate voice only communication can be. It felt as intimate as like a like a small get together at a home with close friends.


It felt like there's a calmness to it and you're revealing things about, you know, somebody suffering from depression or being suicidal. So those are the dark things are being superexcited, getting in your girlfriend or boyfriend. Just the depth of human experience shared unvoice without video is I was really surprised how intimate that is for human connection, especially in this time of covid to replace that. So that so that. Just to give you some context, there's something there.


There's definitely something there. One thing that comes to mind is when, like in a clubhouse, you have your little icons. They don't actually you don't see your face moving.


I think when people see their own image, it puts them in a state of self-consciousness that is eliminated by just having an icon or an avatar. Yes. So, like, Zoom is dreadful, because if I'm not used to talking to people and seeing a little image of myself staring back at me in the mirror, and it's just I know there are ways that you can adjust that, but it's really awful. And I think that when I get on Zoom's now, I say hello.


And then I shut down the video component and then I just talk. In the end, I come back on just to show that still there is still me. But I think that voice only is really interesting. Eddie Chang would be an interesting person to talk to about this because he understands so much about how inflection communicates emotionality and deeper state.


There's a balance between I think just like you said, the privacy somehow allows for the intimacy. So I like being able to as opposed to put putting on an act, which I realize we do when we're visually presenting ourselves in a remote communication.


But I think that there's so few places where people can actually communicate without the fear of penalty. Yes, that's, you know, woefully absent these days. And so maybe people are just relieved to be in a place where they feel like I can say what I want or not say anything and it's OK.


And so the clubhouse as a dancer, you kind of question is there was a big improvement to me over Dischord, which is it has tiers is it has a stage where people, the person who created the room can invite people up that would like to speak, potentially have the opportunity to speak. And then there's a bigger audience that don't get a chance to speak unless they click, raise their hand and then get called on.


So there's like a tier system that allows for there to be a group of like five, 10, 20, 30 people talking and a lot larger amount. And the audience, which underscores the problem, is that everybody could talk. And the other thing about clubhouses, everybody is strongly encouraged to represent themselves. You're using your real name. It's not anonymous.


And how many people were in that GameStop discussion where they currently limit rooms to five thousand.


So I'm sure maxed out of five thousand. There's a lot of overflow rooms. This is the cool thing about clubhouse.


Really big people were on there all tuned in and having a conversation, having all of, you know, all these different worlds, being able to connect, even though without the niceties of, like, arranging the meeting, you could just show up and leave, which is very nice.


But the reason for my lessons from Dischord. I'm going to mostly stay away from Coalhouse, and I think we're going there under another name. All right. I'll pretend I know the actual your actual name. Yeah.


Is I've learned it's quite addicting. It's it's a time sink. It's so the intimacy of it is you find yourself wasting quite a bit of time on there. It pulls you in.


Well, it's interesting.


The were sort of going back to the podcast earlier. We were talking about books or creating a technology. One thing that's absolutely clear is that anything that's easy to reproduce is probably not worth much effort and time.


Yes, right. I mean, most posts. Could be easily reproduced, repost them. Yeah, so now there are some original posts that for which the attribution goes to the original person and it's clear came from you, but anything that can be easily reproduced is doesn't really expand us very much as individuals or as groups.


And most of what I see on social media is stuff that is purely reproduced. Yes, but. I think clubhouse, I mean, it could be that some real magic emerges on there, so immoderation could be good. The magic is this is another thing that I've found through covid that maybe you can think about is live. I used to be not understand the appeal of live video or live connection or like in this clubhouse live events, because clubhouse is technically, for the most part, it's not supposed to be recorded.


Most people don't record most conversations. It's a one time live event and there's a magic to that. There is. That's not captured by a like your podcast or or my podcast produced video that's like recorded like packaged up or anything can happen.


It's that anything can happen. And those that's the kind of thing like live concerts. I definitely I love live music. And it's the idea that because you can always listen to the album and actually the album usually sounds cleaner and better, but it's just this idea that anything can happen.


And then you listen to the parts. I don't know if you like. Costello did something weird, you dog did something weird and then you have to go, goddammit, you have to go to the kitchen or something to get something. And then you come back. And it's funny, I watch live video like that of people and I'll be there for the whole time.


I'll wait for them to go to the kitchen and come back. It's not like I tune out. Right. And that makes it like a richer experience for some reason. It's weird. Well, it humanizes it. And I think there is this weird effect of whether or not it's a podcast, Instagram or Twitter or anything else. It's kind of like two people shouting into a tunnel and then a bunch of people with ears at the other end of those tunnels and shouting some things back.


And, you know, that's that's kind of the format we're in. I think I'll check out clubhouse again. I've gone in there a few times during the day and I was surprised to see how many people were in there in the middle of the day. I was like, don't aren't these people supposed to be working?


But maybe that is their work. Well, be very careful about the time.


Think of it. But yeah, if you want to, you you and I go together. We have a conversation on there. But one of the things you have to figure out, I don't still know how to do it, but how to exit, which is you just do that is in there the leave quietly button.


Yeah, no, but like when you and I are on stage having a conversation. Hmm.


OK, you and I is harder, but like you really if it's just you and I, then it's the usual human communication of like all right, I got to go like but when it's like for people you don't want to interrupt everyone unless you're leaving, you just have to I mean, there's a weird dynamic that I haven't quite figured out of the paddock.


It isn't clear yet because it's not clear what the etiquette on different platforms and how that changes is really interesting how YouTube has one etiquette, which is a lot of harshness is tolerated on YouTube video comments. Twitter seems a bit harsher than Instagram. Instagram.


There's seems to be a lot of nice people. Really nice people are really nice on Instagram for the most part, except for those fishing things. I actually know someone who had their quite sizable account poached by those copyright. They come in with those like you violated copyright thing. There's all sorts of harshness in there that if you think about it in the real world, I like to think about Instagram as if it was the real world. Someone comes over and is basically saying like, hey, can I hold your wallet and go into the bank and I'll get some money out for you.


Like, but there's this trust based on the format it comes in, that it can almost get past your radar unless you're suspicious. If if you took comments like your post, get a lot of comments and use it, you just walk past 500 random people on the street and just listen to what they say it like. That's ridiculous. I don't have time for that. But the comment somehow take on this importance and this relevance.


Yes. And you feel we we feel obligated to give them value. Right. And so the online communities, the rules really are different.




And they evolve over time, which is fascinating. Clubhouse, new social network. So it's evolving and people are figuring out as you go. And the same thing with podcasting on video and like scientific podcasting. This is a cool thing when I look at what you've created.


I'm learning I'm thinking like, hmm, that's interesting to do it this way, because, like nobody I have nobody to copy. Not many people to copy, you know what I mean?


You threw out an idea. I'm not going to put it out here now because I don't want to because knowing you, you'll hold yourself to it no matter what. But when we talked about this issue of the challenge of staying on a particular topic for a while, I mean, you do have some cool stuff brewing in there.


Oh, no, not separate from this format. And I love your interview format. But when you told me that I got really excited that you might go forward, I'm not going to tell your audience what it is. But I will say this. It is super cool. I would have never thought about it. It's distinctly different than what I'm doing or what Lex is currently doing. And if you decide to do that podcast, I will be your first and your number one fan.


And I know that are going to be millions of other people interested. That would be amazing.


So if you decide to go forward with the idea, that would be awesome. I'll say what it is. But now I'm not going to because that's even more interesting.


I brought up the clubhouse thing actually in Elon, because I just want to get your thoughts about something you've said a few times to me and to me in general is that he's under a huge amount of stress.


And I'm thinking of doing a startup now and kind of thinking about all of this, because I you know, I enjoy podcasts, I enjoy science. But he says that his life is basically, hell, very difficult. He looks happy, but he's probably very good, at least fulfilled. He's fulfilled.


But the stress levels, the constant fires that he has to put out and he says that most people wouldn't want to be me and that basically the reason he does what he does is because there's probably something wrong with him. Like it's not he can't help but do that kind of beautiful in a kind of Russian masochistic way.


Well, I just wonder the stress. I mean, I'm sure you can you can imagine the kind of stress he's under because so it's running three plus companies and there's constant he he says that, you know, every single meeting is is not about like should we install a coffee maker in the in the kitchen?


It's like, you know, this rocket is going to blow up and we're all fucked. I don't know what to do and we have to you have to fix it.


The real real big problems that are and like how do you how do you deal with that? What do you think about that kind of life? One one. Is there a way to, you know, walk through that fire?


And two, should you should you walk through that fire without knowing?


I've never met Ellen, but certainly we have common friends in you and in other people that he worked with long ago.


The people days, all of whom speak very highly of him and show express immense admiration for the number of things that he can maintain. I think it's fair to say that he accomplishes more before 9:00 a.m. than most people do. And in a decade it's clear and that what he does would dissolve most people into a puddle of tears, mostly because of this whole thing about the brain. Working hard equates to thinking about duration and outcome and anticipating outcomes given A, B, C or D, a lot of very scripted linear thinking and prediction.


And that is hard. It's stressful. It requires intense neurochemical output. And he's doing that for multiple projects. So presumably he's buffered himself from the coffeemaker issues and the little tiny issues. But he is it himself, unless there's something I don't know, he's walking around in a biological system. He is.


That's allegedly. Yeah, allegedly. So.


And I don't want to reveal too much here, but I have a common coworker and colleague through some contract work.


I do that. What I can tell you is that he's accessing the best resources in terms of how to optimize his biology and his thinking about that, not just for himself, but for all of neural link, because I think I'm not trying to dodge the question, but I think there's there's the scale of the individual. But then there's the companies that he's creating. And you've got people there that you could imagine if they're working at 10 percent better capacity or can focus five percent better for 20 percent of the day.


You're looking at an enormous increase in productivity and a reduction in the time to reach goals which will reduce the amount of stress, presumably on Ellen, unless he goes and starts another endeavor. Right.


So I think it's certainly not healthy for most people. It seems to be where he gets his dopamine hits. I'm also really struck by the fact that he has a family and he has you know, he means he's got kids growing up in a relationship and all that. So it's super impressive.


I think that I don't know how old is Elon is 40.


I'm pushing 50, I think 48.


So even more impressive because, you know, many people who've been at exceedingly high output for a decade or more don't do well. Their system breaks down.


Well, this is what he was saying. He actually I mean, I don't listen to all of his interviews, but on that live on the clubhouse, he mentioned that he was kind of worried. It's interesting. He was worried that, like, sometimes what I think he said is I'm worried that some at some point my brain is just going to fail because of the amount of load it's under, like how much I have to think through throughout the day, like how many, like, problems you have to think through, like, you know, like puzzles to the puzzle solving.


I would be concerned about taking somebody who's in that regime and suddenly putting them into a regime where they don't have enough to bite down into. It's like my bulldog Costello. He's happiest when chewing and tugging at a big ol neck of his. And he is just not going to become a retriever. He's not going to that. He does well and gets his dopamine hits from chewing and pulling. And it it seems like Ilana's that ended up where he is by way of his natural leanings.


Unless there's a back story that's trauma based or something. And I don't even begin to think that there is. It seems that he has he's one of those rare individuals in history that has an immense drive to create in all these different domains. I'm just saying the obvious here. Yeah, but it seems like that's what makes him tick. I mean, you're doing an awful lot, too.


Well, the problem is not really the problem is about I've been on the verge of pulling the trigger on Enns, on starting a company which will increase the workload significantly. And I'm attracted to that. Because of a dream I have, but it's a little bit scary because it can destroy you in a lot of ways. There's two there's two sources of destruction. So one source. Is. I've for the first time in my life, a few. Months ago, I think I have gotten.


This seems like such a new thing to say, but I've gotten some heat on the Internet. No, I know right now, but I am such an idiot and so naive to think it was.


I had the question that I guess a lot of people have when they get hate on the Internet is like, well, it's like, Mom, why are these people making up stuff about me? You know, that kind of feeling of like, why? Why are you saying that? And and the reason I mention that is like, well, if you go if you want to go start a business and do as I think people should when they start a big, ambitious business, really try to go big.


Like what a success look like in terms of your emotional journey, you're going to have a lot of people who make up stuff about you who say negative, the majority, hopefully, if you do a good job, will be supportive. And but there's still going to be this army of people there and like that. That was scary to me because of how much emotional impact that had on me.


Well, and I also know a little bit I have some glimpse into the fact that you put your heart and soul into everything you do. You're not a you're light hearted about certain things, but you're even light hearted about being full gas pedal 24/7. There's kind of this, you know, was it was it Laird Hamilton always says, you know, the big wave surfers. He always says, you know, bright light, dark shadow, you know, and I think it's that intensity.


And when you do that and then suddenly people are starting to like, throw some paint on your picture, you're like, wait, hold.


You know, you're going max capacity. But I think the company is interesting, one, because you've talked about doing this company before.


I've been afraid as it's not been pulling the trigger out of fear because I enjoy this life. This is a sign to draw.


But it's ultimately this question of taking a leap is like, say you're in academia. It's like you're at MIT. You're I really love doing research at MIT. I really love that life. Why take a leap out?


You know, but I did because it's been a dream. But now accidentally along the way, I found this podcasting thing, which is also really fulfilling. And, you know, it's like, why take a leap? Because you have a huge lust for life. Yeah, I mean, that's you.


I mean, sometimes when I'm on the Internet and I think is this you hear about like, oh, it's addicting. You know, YouTube's addicting, although actually sometimes I think maybe that's true. But a lot of times I just think there's so much here. There's a lot of garbage, but there's so many gems out there in the world now. It's almost like, sure, how you allocate time is key. But I. I think you can do it all now.


Yeah, maybe not five more things, but yes, but all. Yes. And one thing I just had this idea, and this is not grounded in any scientific paper, but I think the answer might come to you during this this torture that you're about yourself through with David.


I guess in those mental states, you're really asking the question, right? You're asking the question, where is my capacity and am I even close to my capacity? And if I am, what's what's the most value? I think we find the answers to those things in those non-verbal, non analytic states. It just comes to us. I hope you're right and I hope it's. Profoundly fulfilling experience as opposed to one that leads to my demise. But you're right, because it all goes to the exact to the hedgehog.


Now, it all makes sense. Andrew, like we talked about offline on this podcast, I do hope we write some stuff together, do some research together. You're you're you're one of the most inspiring scientists speaking of communicating to the world. So I can't wait to see what you do with the podcast. I'm already a huge fan. I've been telling everybody about it. I can't wait to see you talk to Joe as well soon. And I can't wait to see what kind of people we write together.


Thanks so much for talking to us. Thank you. That project's going to be a lot of fun. Can't wait. And thanks again for having me on. Appreciate you, brother. Thanks for listening to this conversation with Andrew Huberman and thank you to our sponsors, master class online courses for stigmatic mushroom coffee, magic spoon, low carb cereal and better help online therapy. Click the sponsored links to get a discount. And remember, now is the time to sign up to master class, if that's something you've been on the fence about.


And now they will give you some words from Woodrow Wilson. We should not only use the brains we have, but all that we can borrow. Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.